Many types of stem cells undergo asymmetric cell divisions to give rise to daughter cells with distinct cell fates: one that retains stem cell identity and another that differentiates. Imbalances between these two fates or malfunctioning of stem cell derivatives are common causes of many human diseases, including infertility and cancer. During stem cell asymmetric division, the genomic information is preserved through DNA replication followed by equal partition to the two daughter cells. Epigenetic information refer to DNA-associated factors that determine gene expression without altering the primary DNA sequences. A long-standing question has been how the epigenetic information of a stem cell is transferred to the daughter cells. Using the Drosophila male germline stem cell lineage, my research showed that epigenetic information is inherited asymmetrically during asymmetric stem cell divisions. My ongoing work is to understand the underlying mechanisms and the consequences of mis-regulation of this asymmetry.

Awards and Achievements

  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute Faculty Scholar ( 2016- 2021)