Epithelial stem cells in development and cancer
Dr. Demeng Chen
Yale School of Medicine
Dr. Demeng Chen obtained his PhD degree from Case Western Reserve University in 2013. Dr. Chen was trained as a developmental biologist in skin epithelium during his graduate study. He then joined UCLA as a postdoc fellow and focused on the characterization of cancer stem cells in oral epithelial cancer. Dr. Chen is now an associate research scientist at Yale School of Medicine and has been working on how skin epithelial stem cells are regulated by their niche.
The homeostasis of normal epithelia and the growth of epithelial tumors similarly depends on a sub-population of normal or malignant stem cells. I am interesting in understanding the mechanisms of how stem cells are maintained and regulated in vivo. Using a mouse model of oral epithelial cancer, we found that the oral cancer stem cells express Bmi1 and have increased activator protein-1 (AP-1), a transcription factor that controls the expression of multiple oncogenes. Targeting Bmi1+ cancer stem cells significantly improves conventional chemotherapy outcome of oral epithelial cancer. In addition, using skin hair follicle as a model, we showed that epithelial stem cells can be regulated by their stromal niche. Our study provides insights to understand normal and malignant epithelial stem cell biology, which has major clinical implications for the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of human diseases, as well as for regenerative medicine.
All are welcome！