Fernando Camargo, PhD
Harvard Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology
The Camargo laboratory focuses on the study of adult stem cell biology, organ size regulation, and cancer.
Despite fantastic progress in developmental biology research over the past decade, one aspect of development and tissue homeostasis for which very little is understood is how individual tissues reach and then maintain their appropriate size. Classic studies have demonstrated that tissues are able to ‘sense’ their size and expand or shrink until a correct dimension has been reached. Nevertheless, the nature of the molecules and pathways involved in this process remain mysterious. Our laboratory utilizes a variety of genetic, biochemical, and high throughput technologies to identify molecules and mechanisms that regulate this fascinating process in mammals. We are particularly interested in studying the function of the newly discovered Hippo signaling pathway and its effects on tissue size, homeostasis and cancer. We have demonstrated that Hippo signaling can be a very potent regulator of organ size in mice and have provided a conceptual link between organ size regulation and stem cell activity through Hippo signals. Studies are now aimed at fully dissecting the components and the role of this cascade in somatic stem cells. Insight into these processes will shed light on fundamental aspects of tissue regeneration and will facilitate the development of therapeutic approaches based on cellular transplantation. Additionally, our group is investigating the relevance of organ size regulatory mechanisms as new components of a tumor suppressor pathway.
Our laboratory also has a strong interest in studying the cellular and molecular biology of hematopoietic stem cells. Our studies focus primarily on the in vivo roles of transcription factors and microRNAs in stem cell fate decisions, differentiation, and malignancy. We have recently developed a method for the tracking and monitoring of individual hematopoietic stem cells and their progeny in vivo. This model will be an invaluable resource in the years to come to understand the behavior, dynamics and heterogeneity of stem cells in normal and an array of disease conditions.