Kevin Child

kevin

Kevin Child
BS, Biomolecular Science
Central Connecticut State University
New Britain, CT
PhD Student in Genetics
James Schwob, MD, PhD, Adviser

 

 

 

My project focuses on the aging adult stem cells in the olfactory epithelium (OE). There are two main populations of stem cells in this system. The first type of olfactory stem cell is known as the globose basal cell (GBC). GBCs are multipotent progenitor cells that are involved in normal maintenance of the OE. GBCs likely become exhausted and are lost over time, which has been associated with age related smell loss in humans. The second type of stem cell is known as the horizontal basal cell (HBC). HBCs are reserve stem cells that are activated in response to severe olfactory damage. It has been found that p63 is capable of maintaining HBC dormancy, and that p63 is suppressed after damage has occurred in the OE. I am creating an accelerated model of aging in the mouse olfactory system using the expression of diphtheria toxin subunit A (DTA) in OMP expressing mature neurons. DTA causes mature neurons to undergo apoptosis which leads to overproduction of neurons. GBCs respond with a higher rate of mitosis and differentiation. Over an extended period of time areas of the OE lose GBCs whereas the HBC population remain but appear inactive or quiescent. In this model I hope to stimulate the quiescent HBCs by suppressing p63 and thereby restoring the GBC population and mature olfactory neurons.

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