Ya-Chieh Hsu, PhD
We study how growth and differentiation are controlled, and how different cell types coordinate with one another, to maintain tissue function during development, regeneration, and repair.
Skin, the largest organ we have, protects us from insults and dehydration, and facilitates sensory perception and thermoregulation. These multifaceted functions are accomplished by a rich diversity of cell types within the skin. Throughout life, the epidermis and its appendages the hair follicles possess remarkable capacity to renew themselves during homeostasis and to heal themselves upon injury, features that necessitate multiple resident reservoirs of stem cells. Together, the skin represents an ideal paradigm for studying stem cells and their interactions with surrounding microenvironments, or niches.
We use a wide variety of approaches and techniques, including molecular, cellular, genetic and genomic tools, to investigate how stem cell behaviors are regulated by their downstream progeny, their niches, and at systemic level. We aim to understand how these regulations occur in a precise manner to meet various physiological demands, how communications between stem cells and their niches facilitate an organ to adapt, and how dysregulated stem cell behaviors lead to diseases. Skin is our primary model system, but we are also exploring other epithelial tissues to determine the extent to which these mechanisms are shared or separate.
Ya-Chieh Hsu is the Alvin and Esta Star Associate Professor of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology at Harvard University, and a Principal Faculty Member at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. She is supported by a K99-R00 pathway to independence award from NIH, and is also a past recipient of the Starr Stem Cell Foundation Fellowship and the NYSCF-Druckenmiller Fellowship.
Dr. Hsu completed her Ph.D. at Baylor College of Medicine, where she studied pathways controlling growth and proliferation using Drosophila as a model. For her postdoctoral research at the Rockefeller University, she delineated the lineage hierarchy of hair follicle cells and investigated how signals from stem cell progeny regulate hair follicle stem cells in Elaine Fuchs’ laboratory.