Ben Z. Stanger, M.D., Ph.D.

Title
Associate Professor
Department
Department of Medicine
Institution
University of Pennsylvania
Address
512 BRB II/III
421 Curie Boulevard
City, State, Zip
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Phone
(215) 746-5560
E-mail
bstanger[at]exchange.upenn.edu
Website
http://www.afcri.upenn.edu/ourfaculty/stanger_bio.html
Research Field
Developmental Biology
Award Year
2009

Research

What controls size? The question seems rather simple, but the mechanisms that control the size of organisms and their internal organs are among the least understood in biology. Moreover, the problem touches upon several fields, including developmental biology, cancer biology, signaling, and gene regulation, underscoring its fundamental nature. My laboratory seeks to determine how tissues normally measure size and control growth in their native (in vivo) environment. By activating or inactivating genes involved in regulation of cell growth, proliferation, and apoptosis in vivo, we plan to unravel the mechanisms by which cells communicate with each other during embryonic development and regeneration. We will pay particular attention to the Hippo pathway, a conserved signaling module that regulates tissue growth in Drosophila, by studying novel mouse strains that will permit us to conditionally activate or inactivate the pathway. The mechanisms that control size during development are likely to be used by cancer cells during malignant progression and possibly by adult organs during regeneration. As a result, we anticipate it will be possible to exploit the insights gained from our studies to develop therapies for cancer and a variety of degenerative diseases.