University of California, Berkeley
My lab studies the growth and development of epithelial tissues, using Drosophila as a model system to identify novel molecules and mechanisms that regulate these processes. In self-renewing human epithelia, stem cells maintain tissue homeostasis by producing new differentiated cells at a rate that matches that of cell death; they are also responsible for regenerative capacity and plasticity of organ size. How are these different equilibria established and maintained, and how are they altered in pathology? We investigate these questions in stem-based Drosophila tissues including intestinal and ovarian epithelia. Our interests include 1). how cells transition between stem cells, progenitors, and differentiated cells; 2) the role of epithelial polarity in this process; 3) how oncogenes and tumor suppressors induce stem or progenitor-like properties; and 4) how stem cell populations within a tissue are collectively regulated over time and in response to external conditions.