Jason C Mills
Photo: Jason Mills

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Elected 2012
My lab works on two related problems: 1) the nature of the normal stem cell of the body of the stomach and the signaling pathways that cause its increased proliferation in response to the types of inflammation/injury (e.g., infection with Helicobacter pylori) that induce metaplasia and predispose to cancer; 2) how specialized secretory cells (like digestive-enzyme secreting cells of the stomach and pancreas) use transcription factors to induce the cellular structural changes that allow them to expand secretory capacity and how those same transcriptional programs are shut off as those cells dedifferentiate during inflammation/injury that causes metaplasia. We call transcription factors, like the bhlh MIST1 (BHLHA15), that scale up and scale down specific subcellular domains, like those involved in regulated secretion, Scaling Factors.