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The 20th Umesono Prize Ceremony was held

Assistant Professor Hitomi Takada (Laboratory of Stem Cell Technology) received the 20th Umesono Prize. The 20th Umesono Prize Ceremony was held on July 28th at the Rethink Biological Science Seminar hall (L11), and many faculty and students participated and honored the Umezono prize winners.

The Umesono Prize has been awarded annually since 2004 to young researchers in Graduate School (Division) of Biological Sciences at NAIST who significantly contributed to biological sciences during his/her years at the institute. The prize is awarded to young researchers with a bright future to follow in the footprints of Dr. Umesono who enriched us with his personal and intellectual generosity. His spirit continues to inspire us and light our way. The award is mainly based on the originality and academic value of a paper which the awardee wrote as a first author.

Assistant Professor Hitomi Takada

Research Title:
Gastric stem cell system protecting healthy gastric mucosa

The lumen of the glandular stomach is covered with a number of invaginated gastric units composed of multiple functional epithelial cells including acid-secreting parietal cells, digestive enzyme-secreting chief cells, and mucus-secreting pit and neck cells. Continuous replenishment of these epithelial cells relies on a population of stem cells within gastric units. Dysregulation of gastric stem cell differentiation is associated with various gastric disorders, including pseudopyloric metaplasia, Ménétrier’s disease, and Zollinger–Ellison syndrome. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying the gastric stem cell differentiation in stomach homeostasis have not been fully elucidated. Here, by utilizing the single-cell RNA sequencing method Quartz-Seq2, we analyzed the gene expression dynamics during gastric stem cell differentiation. Enrichment analysis of pseudotime dependent genes identified that EGFR signaling promotes pit cell differentiation, while TNFSF12 signaling maintains the gastric stem cells in undifferentiated state. Further validation through in vitro gastric organoid assays confirmed the role of these signaling pathway in regulating gastric stem cell differentiation. These findings provide valuable insights into the underlying mechanisms maintaining stomach homeostasis, and form the foundation to understand the pathogenesis of gastric disorders.

(July 28, 2023)

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