Craig A. Micchelli, Ph.D.

Title
Assistant Professor
Department
Department of Molecular Biology and Pharmacology
Institution
Washington University
Address
660 S. Euclid Avenue
Campus Box 8103
City, State, Zip
St. Louis, MO 63110
Phone
(314) 362-7036
E-mail
micchelli[at]wustl.edu
Website
http://dbbs.wustl.edu/faculty/Pages/faculty_bio.aspx?SID=6043
Research Field
Stem Cell Biology
Award Year
2007

Research

Adult stem cells differ from all other cells of an organism in two important ways. First, stem cells have the ability to give rise to differentiated daughter cells (multipotency) and second, stem cells retain the ability to proliferate extensively (self-renewal). Together, these properties make adult stem cells the ultimate source of a tissue's cell renewing capacity and central to both tissue repair and homeostasis throughout the course of life. And yet, the molecular mechanisms that confer these unique attributes to stem cells remain poorly understood. The goal of our laboratory is to characterize tissue-specific populations of adult stem cells and characterize the cellular and molecular mechanisms that regulate their function. We have identified a novel population of multipotent adult intestinal stem cells that maintain the epithelial lining of the Drosophila midgut. Using this powerful genetic model system, we have now begun to investigate the molecular basis of multipotency and self-renewal and to determine if environmental changes can influence adult stem cell behavior. Uncovering the mechanisms that normally regulate adult stem cell function may provide insights into the way in which homeostatic imbalance can lead to diseases of epithelial cell over-proliferation, such as cancer.