Molecular & Integrative Physiology Department | University of Michigan
The Samuelson lab studies the development and function of the gastrointestinal system, focusing on epithelial cell homeostasis in stomach and intestine. In the gut, stem and progenitor cells continuously generate differentiated cell types to maintain and replenish these tissues. Multiple growth factors and morphogens, such as Notch, Wnt, Hedgehog and gastrin regulate proliferation and epithelial cell specification, although their mechanisms of action are poorly understood. Our current focus is directed to the Notch signaling pathway and its function in tissue homeostasis and regeneration after injury. We have determined that Notch directly targets gastrointestinal stem cells to regulate the balance of cellular proliferation vs. differentiation. We utilize a variety of modern experimental approaches and take advantage of genetically-engineered mouse models, mouse and human organoids and human cancer-derived cell lines to understand fundamental mechanisms of gastrointestinal stem cell function.