MD, PhD Student in Cell, Molecular & Developmental Biology
James Schwob, MD, PhD, Adviser
The adult olfactory epithelium (OE) has the remarkable capacity to regenerate fully both neuronal and non-neuronal cell types after severe epithelial injury. Life-long persistence of two stem cell populations facilitates OE regeneration after severe injury: the horizontal basal cells (HBCs), which are quiescent and held in reserve, and mitotically active globose basal cells (GBCs) that continuously replace lost neurons throughout adult life. It has recently been demonstrated that p63 is both necessary and sufficient to maintain HBC quiescence in the uninjured OE. However, the upstream mechanisms of p63 down-regulation resulting in HBC activation to multipotency following acute OE injury remain unknown. My research has focused on determining the role the Notch signaling pathway plays in maintaining HBC quiescence, determining HBC lineage fate choice after activation, and assisting in neuronal maturation and axon targeting once the neuronal lineage is determined. My work advances our understanding of both how neural stem cells are recruited for tissue recovery after injury and how we can manipulate these cells to fully harness their transplant potential.
I am now completing the third year of medical school.