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Benjamin Ohlstein

M.D., Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Genetics & Development
Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons

Using lineage labeling, Professor Ohlstein identified intestinal stem cells in adult Drosophila midguts. Like their vertebrate counterparts, Drosophila intestinal stem cells (ISCs) give rise to enterocytes and enteroendocrine cells. As in vertebrates, Notch signaling is required to produce an appropriate fraction of enteroendocrine cells. Unlike other Drosophila stem cells, (ISCs) do not reside in a niche with a specific partner stromal cell and may be controlled differently than other stem cells. Ohlstein's goals are to determine the mechanisms that regulate maintenance of ISCs and the differentiation of their daughters into daughter cells. Ohlstein's studies will also serve as an excellent model for understanding these mechanisms in the vertebrate gut.

Select Publications: 

Ohlstein B, Spradling A. Multipotent Drosophila intestinal stem cells specify daughter cell fates by differential notch signaling.  Science. 2007 Feb 16;315(5814):988-92.

Ohlstein B, Spradling A. The adult Drosophila posterior midgut is maintained by pluripotent stem cells.  Nature. 2006 Jan 26;439(7075):470-4. Epub 2005 Dec 7.

Ohlstein B, Kai T, Decotto E, Spradling A. The stem cell niche: theme and variations.  Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2004 Dec;16(6):693-9. Review.