- Friday Lecture Series
Elaine Fuchs, Ph.D., Rebecca C. Lancefield Professor and head, Robin Chemers Neustein Laboratory of Mammalian Cell Biology and Development, The Rockefeller University; investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Adult tissue stem cells have the ability to self-renew long term and differentiate into one or more tissues. Many stem cells are used sparingly to replenish cells during normal homeostasis. However, even stem cells that are quiescent must be able to respond quickly to injury in order to fuel rapid tissue regeneration. How stem cells balance self-renewal and differentiation is of fundamental importance to our understanding of normal tissue maintenance and wound repair. The regulatory circuitry governing this normal balancing act is must be intricately regulated in normal homeostasis, and then transiently altered to cope with injury responses. Increasing evidence suggests that this mechanism goes awry in inflammation and becomes hijacked in cancers.
The Fuchs laboratory uses skin epithelium as an excellent model system to understand how stem cells remain quiescent during times of minimal wear and tear, how these cells become mobilized during the cyclical bouts of hair growth and wound repair, and how the normal process of stem cell activation goes awry in cancer and inflammation. They use high throughput genetic and genomic approaches to dissect at a molecular level how stem cell interactions with their niches differ in homeostasis, wound repair and inflammation, and how heterogeneity in the tumor microenvironment can confer to stem cells resistance to chemotherapy. Their global objective is to apply their knowledge of the basic science of epithelial stem cells to unfold new avenues for therapeutics.
Dr. Fuchs received her B.S. in chemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1972 and her Ph.D. in biochemistry from Princeton University in 1977. She did her postdoctoral research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1977 to 1980. Dr. Fuchs was on the faculty of the University of Chicago before joining Rockefeller in 2002. She is the recipient of numerous honors, including the Dickson Prize in 2004, the National Medal of Science in 2009, the L’Oréal-UNESCO Award in 2010, the Passano Award in 2011, the March of Dimes Prize in 2012, the Pasarow Award in 2013, E.B. Wilson Medal in 2015, and the McEwen Award for Innovation just last year. She is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She has been a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator since 1988.
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- Justin Sloboda
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