The epidermis is in dynamic equilibrium and is constantly renewed throughout life. Skin stem cells that can self-renew and differentiate provide the unlimited source for long-term tissue maintenance and regeneration. These cellular processes are finely regulated by the signaling molecules within their microenvironment. Dysregulation of these signaling pathways commonly leads to the development of tumors.
Wnt signaling is one of important pathways required for tissue development and maintenance. Wen-Hui Lien and her group focus on understanding how Wnt signaling orchestrates the development of skin, the maintenance of skin stem cells, and the process of skin cancer initiation and progression. Using transgenic mouse models and primary cell culture in combination of multiple technologies, such as fluorescent activated cell sorting, transcriptomic and proteomic approaches, the lab aims to decipher how Wnt signaling cross-interact with another pathways and how their collaboration co-regulates the behaviors of stem cells and tumor cells, and their interaction with the niche cells within their native microenvironment.
Through new discoveries, Wen-Hui and her team intend to identify an integrative view of signaling regulation that instructs skin homeostasis and tumorigenesis, and by which to develop strategies to treat skin diseases and cancer.