EventsAsst. Prof. Ömer Yılmaz

Deconstructing The Early Steps of Obesity-mediated Intestinal Tumorigenesis

Organismal diet has a profound impact on tissue regeneration, aging, and disease in mammals. However, the mechanisms through which diet perturbs stem and progenitor cell biology and leads to diseases, such as cancers are poorly understood. With the rise of obesity in the US population – more than 1 in 3 adults are obese – understanding the relationship between diet, stem cell biology, and cancer incidence takes on great importance. From epidemiologic data, it has been long observed that obesity correlates with augmented cancer incidence in humans. Yet, little is known about how diets that lead to obesity such as a high fat diet (HFD) regulate adult stem and progenitor cell function and how a HFD influences the vulnerability of these cells to undergo oncogenic transformation to form tumors.  Our lab is interested in understanding how a pro-obesity HFD alters the biology of intestinal stem cells (ISCs) and progenitors, and how such changes contribute to the early steps of intestinal tumorigenesis.

About The Speaker

Omer Yilmaz is an Assistant Professor of biology at MIT and a gastrointestinal pathologist at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. His lab at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research investigates the molecular mechanisms of how intestinal stem cells and their Paneth cell niche respond to diverse diets to coordinate intestinal regeneration with organismal physiology and its impact on the formation and growth of intestinal cancers.