Molecular control of stem cells by niche signaling targets
How does a single cell give rise to an entire organism? The answer is stem cells, like those in the tiny worm organism C. elegans studied by Heaji Shin in the Kimble Lab. During development, a complex gene network is at work to balance self-renewal and differentiation. This balance is critical for tissue growth and repair. Central to this process is the stem cell niche, a microenvironment in which stem cells reside. Heaji studied two proteins involved in stem cell self-renewal, finding that these are downstream niche signaling targets both required and sufficient for stem cell self-renewal. Her work sheds light on this pathway that could be used to investigate therapeutics and further basic research on animal development.
Want to learn more about Heaji’s work? Don’t miss her Thesis Review at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 26 in the Khorana Auditorium in the HFD Biochemistry Laboratories.