Department of Cell and Tissue Dynamics
Professor Sara Wickström, MD, PhD
The driving forces that make tissues from cells
Our epithelial tissues are constantly renewed to preserve function by removing damaged cells. 500 million cells and 100 hairs (1,5 g of material) are shed every day in this renewal. This material is produced by stem cells, which are long-lived self-renewing cells that reside within the tissue and possess a high capacity for self-renewal. Due to their potency, tight control of stem cell behavior to match the needs of the tissue is required.
Adult tissue-resident stem cells thus fuel renewal, repair, and remodeling of tissues to maintain their structure and function. Our research aims to uncover how single stem cell behaviors are coordinated at the population level, and how population-level dynamics are coupled to tissue architecture. Uncovering these regulatory principles will facilitate the development of stem cell and regenerative therapies and more effective treatments against cancers.
As a self-renewing organ maintained by multiple distinct stem cell populations, the skin epidermis represents an outstanding, clinically highly relevant research paradigm to address these questions.