Keck School of Medicine Events

Uncovering cellular and signaling mechanisms of tissue regeneration by two photon microscopy

Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at USC
June 2014
Monday, June 16, 2014
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Broad CIRM Center Seminar Room

Valentina Greco, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Genetics and Dermatology
Yale University School of Medicine
In my laboratory, our goal is to understand 1) how stem cells and their environment contribute to organ regeneration and 2) how disruption of growth signals leads to cancer. A major challenge in the mammalian stem cell field has been the inability to follow the same cells in vivo and understand how their interactions with neighbors contribute to tissue growth. To overcome this challenge, my lab established for the first time the ability to visualize stem cells in vivo in an intact animal by two-photon microscopy. Looking at the skin we have studied regeneration in real time following stem cells and manipulating the cells surrounding them. Currently, we are investigating how signaling pathways are controlling stem cells to turn on/off tissue growth. Once stem cells are turned on, failure to turn them off leads to cancer. To address this key balance between activation and quiescence, we took advantage of two contrasting mouse cancer models: a unique benign skin tumor which regresses spontaneously, keratoacanthoma, as well as a malignant one, squamous cell carcinoma. We demonstrated that self-regressing tumors offer a platform for understanding what signals fail to be utilized by aggressive tumors and show that signals active during the regression phase of the benign keratoacanthoma tumors trigger tumor regression in squamous cell carcinoma.

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