We combine chemical and computer vision approaches to discover how regenerative tissues process environmental information to promote accurate cell fate decisions and prevent uncontrolled cell growth.
We study control of cell fate and self-organization in intestinal renewal and drug response in cancer. Utilizing the fascinating characteristics of intestinal stem cells combined with chemical biology and computational image analysis approaches, we are addressing fundamental questions of multicellular systems: How do cells identify, measure, and respond to each other and to their environment? What are the signals that control the renewal and regeneration of tissues? How do these signals become defective in colorectal cancer? Our long-term goal is to uncover an underlying circuit theory behind these behaviors – a set of predictive principles that tell us how complex functionality arises from simpler biological components. We have a particular interest in kinase networks that regulate healthy tissue homeostasis and become damaged in cancer. Through our quantitative high-throughput imaging and drug discovery efforts, we are finding new ways to understand and repair these networks. Keywords: Stem cells, Cancer, Regeneration, Drug discovery