Seminar in Medicine, 02.10.2014 - Ömer Yılmaz, MD

Author: KUSOM





Thursday, October 2nd, 2014


Speaker               : Ömer Yılmaz, MD - Assistant Professor of Biology at MIT & a gastrointestinal pathologist at the Massachusetts General Hospital & Harvard Medical School

Title                      : Dietary Control of Stem Cell Self-renewal in Physiology and Disease

Time                     : 16.00 (Refreshments will be served at 15.45)

Place                    : ENG 208

Dietary Control of Stem Cell Self-renewal in Physiology and Disease

Abstract: The goal of the laboratory is to understand how adult stem cells and their microenvironment adapt to diverse diets in the context of tissue regeneration and cancer initiation. Towards this end, we are studying the effects of dietary interventions such as calorie restriction (CR) and high fat diet-induced obesity on intestinal stem cell (ISC) function in the mammalian small intestine. Since ISCs, like all adult stem cells, posses the ability to self-renew (i.e. generate daughter stem cells) and the capacity for multipotent differentiation (i.e. generate lineage-committed progenitors and ultimately all mature tissue-specific cell types), they likely play an important role in remodeling the intestine in response to diet-induced physiologies. A majority of ISCs express the leucine-rich repeat-containing G protein-coupled receptor 5 (Lgr5) and reside at the bottom intestinal crypts nestled between Paneth cells, which constitute a component of the stem cell cellular neighborhood or “niche”. The Paneth cell niche elaborates myriad growth factors and cues necessary for the maintenance of Lgr5+ ISCs. This intercalated positioning of Lgr5+ ISCs and their Paneth cell niche make the intestine an elegant system for deciphering the autonomous versus non-autonomous (or niche-mediated) effects of diet on stem cell self-renewal and differentiation.

Currently, we are elucidating the molecular mechanisms underpinning this interaction between ISCs and Paneth cells in CR and will complement this by studying the response of this interaction in obesity. By comparing how ISCs adapt to diverse diets, we will gain a deeper understanding of how the intestine integrates physiology with its growth and why some diets reduce or augment the risk of colon cancer.

Bio: Omer Yilmaz is an Assistant Professor of Biology at MIT and a gastrointestinal pathologist at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan Medical School, where he performed his thesis work under the guidance of Professor Sean Morrison. He has also spent two years as a visiting postdoctoral Fellow in the laboratory of Professor David M. Sabatini, a member of the Whitehead and Koch Institutes.