Research Interests

Our laboratory uses the Drosophila ovary as a model for studying the fundamental properties of epithelial stem cells, their associated niche, and the connection between epithelial stem cells and cancer. We are interested in questions such as:

  • How is stem cell fate maintained within a dynamic epithelial tissue?
  • How do epithelial stem cells differ from other cells in the tissue?
  • What is the nature of the epithelial stem cell niche?
  • What is the role of epithelial stem cells in normal reproductive physiology?
  • How is a healthy population of stem cells maintained throughout adult life?
  • Do stem cell defects underlie epithelial cancers and what can studies of epithelial stem cells teach us about the earliest steps in cancer?

Stem cells in the Drosophila ovarian epithelium

The follicular epithelium in the Drosophila ovary is an ideal model for the study of epithelial biology. It possesses many classical epithelial features, such as a columnar cell shape, apical/basal polarity, and canonical cell adhesion complexes, and yet is a relatively simple tissue and is highly tractable for molecular and cell biological analysis. Combined with the powerful genetic tools available in Drosophila, this allows us to address questions in epithelial stem cell and tissue biology with single-cell resolution in the natural, in vivo context.


Last modified: 20 October 2015.

Lab News

June, 2015 - Welcome to our new lab members, Mari Benitez and Sumitra Tatapudy

December 19, 2014  - Stephanie's paper came out in Development!   
Vlachos cover
December 2, 2014 - Angela and Michael's paper came out in eLife!  
 Castanieto cover
 November 15-16, 2014 Todd will give a talk and Bryne and Rebecca will present posters at the UCSF DSCB retreat at the Marconi Center.  Register here!
 September 11-12, 2014 - Bryne and Michael are giving talks at the Tetrad Retreat
 July 14, 2014 Pam and Pankaj's paper describing their screen through Enhancer Trap Flippase lines was accepted in G3 and appeared online!