Preserving genetic integrity of embryonic stem cells
Throughout the development, there is a constant need to ensure the genomic integrity. Germ cells, early embryos and by extrapolation the pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) are designated to develop into all cell types in the body and therefore equipped with robust mechanisms to preserve their genomic integrity. Furthermore, PSCs have promising implication in cell-based therapy. Investigating the molecular basis governing the genomic integrity of PSCs as well as early embryos is critical to address the tumorigenic challenges and to understand how early embryos sustain their genome stability. Our lab is interested in identifying the key regulators of DNA damage response in these pluripotent cells and understanding their functional mechanisms.
Stem cell-based neo-oogenesis in mammals
Whether neo-oogenesis and follicle replenishment take place post-natally in mammals remain controversial for decades. Although some in vitro studies suggested the existence of germline stem cells in mouse and human ovary, no direct evidence supported the neo-oogenesis under physiological condition. We utilize genetic cell-lineage tracing strategy to address this question. We are also interested in understanding the molecular properties of ovarian germ stem cells and the significance of neo-oogenesis to normal ovarian biology and failure.