Dean Yimlamai, MD, PhD*
Clinical and Research Interests: I am a physician-scientist, trained as a clinical gastroenterologist with a special interest in pediatric liver diseases and liver tumors. Our group uses murine model organisms to understand the fundamental mechanisms of liver growth during development, its restoration from injury and changes that lead to oncogenesis.
We specialize in the Hippo Signaling Pathway, a relatively recently recognized signaling pathway that controls organ growth. Over the past 10 years, it has become well recognized that dysfunction of the Hippo pathway rapidly leads to an increase in organ size and eventually cancer. How this important signaling pathway cooperates with other biochemical pathways, the nature and quality of cells where Hippo Signaling has been manipulated, and the importance of the Hippo Pathway to cellular biochemistry are fundamental questions that I have helped to answer over the past several years.
Currently, I am focused on how the Hippo pathway may be disrupted during chronic liver injury and if this leads to the development of liver fibrosis. A second major goal of my research program is to define novel regulators of the Hippo pathway. Our short-term goal is to describe the pathophysiology resulting from dysregulation of the Hippo pathway in the liver and to identify clinically targetable pathways related to Hippo. Our long-term goal is to develop a translational research program revolving around amelioration of liver disease and regeneration in children.
Ongoing Research Studies:
- Characterize the roles that liver cell sub-types play in the development of liver inflammation and fibrosis with respect to the Hippo Signaling pathway.
- Investigate the determinants of hepatocyte heterogeneity and their contribution to metabolic disease, liver regeneration and oncogenesis.
- Determine the mechanistic differences that sex plays in affecting the liver’s metabolic and regenerative response.
Research Expertise: We specialize in using genetic mouse models of liver disease to identify the specific biochemical role and cell types that are involved in disease progression. We utilize a variety of genetic tools including DNA and viral-mediated genome editing (i.e. Adenovirus, lentiviral, plasmid-based), fluorescent activated cell sorting, high throughput sequencing and high resolution fluorescent imaging techniques.