In the Loza-Coll Lab, we are interested in the genetic mechanisms that control fate decisions in stem cells.
Why care about any of this?
Because a wide range of health problems originate from defects in stem cell behavior. When stem cells can’t differentiate, they accumulate exponentially and form a tumor, whereas stem cells that can’t divide could underlie diverse aging-associated declines in organ function. A better understanding of the genetic wiring that controls stem cells will help us devise new and better medical treatments to a host of diseases.
What we do.
In our laboratory, we use the model organism Drosophila melanogaster (fruit flies) to study these important questions.
Using experimental genetics, microscopy and bioinformatic modeling, we are trying to identify the genes that control stem cells in a living organism. Since many pathways controlling fly stem cells appear conserved throughout evolution, we ultimately hope that our work will reveal genes that are critical in our own stem cells.