Cellular and Developmental Biology, State University of New York at Stony Brook, (1994)
|Fellowship/Advanced Training: |
Postdoctoral fellowship in Cutaneous Biology and Gene Transfer (1995-1999)
Gene/cell-based therapy targeted to skin and salivary glands; Epithelial stem cell research; Regulaion of keratinocyte de-differentiation.
The goal of regenerative medicine is to use gene- and cell-based therapies to restore tissue function. In many adult tissues, tissue homeostasis and regeneration are maintained by resident stem cells that have the ability to self-renew and to generate differentiated cell lineages. My lab has been investigating the organization and behavior of stem cells in normal and regenerative epithelial tissues using skin epithelia and salivary glands as model systems for rapidly and slowly renewing tissues, respectively. Our long-term goal is to gain insights into the cellular and molecular mechanisms regulating tissue repair and regeneration in epithelial tissues.
Our studies are currently focusing on two projects:
1) Using skin epithelia, we have discovered that differentiated keratinocytes possess inducible proliferative capacity and acquire stem cell characteristics during tissue damage/regeneration. We have identified a key role for protein kinase D in regulating dedifferentiation, cutaneous wound healing and tumorigenesis. Our ongoing studies are focused on characterization of common and unique roles of PKD isozymes in human skin and the cross-talks with other signaling pathways that regulate epidermal homeostasis, survival, migration and tumorigenesis.
2) Contrary to epidermis, salivary gland is a slowly renewing tissue and whether stem cells contribute to the renewal and regeneration of various cell lineages in the salivary gland has long been debated. We are using techniques including cell-lineage tracing and transcriptome analysis to determine how various differentiated cell lineages are regenerated in response to injury and to identify signaling pathways important in this process. These studies will inform approaches for modulating the pathways that may promote endogenous regeneration as well as the generation of exogenous salivary gland cell lineages from pluripotent stem cells.