Epithelial: Skin, Lung, Liver and Gastrointestinal Tract
Epithelial cells cover the surface of the body and line internal organs. In many cases, such as the gastrointestinal tract and the skin, these are highly proliferative tissues that turn over in days or weeks. Others, such as the lung, turn over slowly, yet quickly respond to environmental insults and injury to replenish themselves.
The remarkable proliferative capacity of epithelial tissues is due to the presence of resident stem cells. Members of the program are working to identify epithelial stem cells and their niches in diverse organs, and to understand how they are activated during wound healing and repair and how they may give rise to cancers. Organoid cultures are being used to screen for drugs and small molecules that regulate stem cell activity. Studies are also underway to decipher how the stem cells are first specified and established during embryonic development.
Ronald Goldberg, M.D.
Department of Pediatrics