Research & Publications
My lab studies how our organs are maintained throughout life. We established novel approaches to track and manipulate stem cells in live animals, which enabled the following discoveries:
The importance of support.We discovered that stem cells can be replaced, but loss of the niche disables tissue regeneration. We identified extrinsic cues that spatially organize different stem cell behaviors, including survival and death. We found that fibroblasts do not move within the dermis, but extend their membranes to compensate for the loss of neighboring fibroblasts and sustain organ homeostasis.
Flexibility to demands.We showed that stem cells adapt their fate choices to satisfy tissue requirements after injury and during homeostasis. This adaptability maintains normal tissue architecture, despite mutant cells or aberrant differentiation cues. We found thatstemcell neighbors coordinate their fate choices: differentiation of a stem cell induces symmetrical division of a neighboring stem cell.
Battling disease.We demonstrated that the epithelium and mesenchyme possess diverse mechanisms to correct aberrant growths induced by mutational or non-mutational insults, suggesting an exciting concept: that our tissues have innate mechanisms to eliminate tumors in their earliest stages.
These breakthroughs advance our long-term goal of understanding organ homeostasis, wound repair and cancer.
Cell Biology; Dermatology; Genetics; Neoplasms by Histologic Type; Regeneration; Stem Cells; Stem Cell Niche