Ömer H. Yilmaz, M.D., Ph.D.

Title
Assistant Professor
Institution
Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT
Address
77 Massachusetts Avenue
76-553G
City, State, Zip
Cambridge, MA 23139
Phone
(617) 324-7633
E-mail
ohyilmaz[at]mit.edu
Website
http://yilmaz-lab.mit.edu/
Research Field
Molecular Biology
Award Year
2016

Research

The main goal of my research is to understand how a high-fat diet can lead to the development of cancer. I will tease out this very significant question by examining the way stem cells in the gut respond and adapt to dietary signals, and how this can change the intestines to promote cancer growth. Preliminary findings from my lab indicate that a high-fat diet can lead to an increase in the intestinal stem cell population—giving rise to the potential of unregulated cell growth. I have determined that it is the activation of the nuclear receptor protein PPAR-δ that triggers this cell growth response to a high-fat diet. Combining sophisticated single-cell transcriptome methodologies and studies in mice and human samples, I will now dissect how PPAR-δ is capable of giving such tumor-forming power to intestinal cells, with the ultimate goal of discovering novel therapeutic approaches for treating intestinal cancers.