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Maksim Plikus

Assistant Professor, Developmental & Cell Biology
School of Biological Sciences

Ph.D., University of Southern California, 2007, Pathology

Phone: (949) 824-1260
Email: plikus@uci.edu

University of California, Irvine
Stem Cell Research Center
845 Health Sciences Road, Room 3018
Mail Code: 1705
Irvine, CA 92697

picture of Maksim  Plikus

Stem cells and stem cell niche, Regeneration of tissues and organs, Biological pattern formation, Self-organization, Biological clock mechamisms, Skin and hair follicles, Adipose tissue, WNT and BMP signaling pathways
Appointments 2011 - 2012 University of Pennsylvania, Research Associate
2009 - 2011 University of Pennsylvania, Post-doctoral Researcher
2007 - 2009 University of Southern California, Post-doctoral Researcher
The interest of my laboratory is to understand how complex tissues and organs regenerate under normal conditions and in response to injury or disease.

Large organs, such as skin, contain many thousands of stem cells. Coordinating activities of all these stem cells at the same time becomes a big challenge. Previously we showed that this challenge can be solved by implementing a self-organizing pattern-based mechanism (Plikus et al., Nature 2008; Plikus et al., Science 2011). We used the model of regenerating hairs to demonstrate that stem cells in each hair listen to activating and inhibitory signals emitted by the neighboring hairs. Upon integration of all signaling inputs, hair stem cells make a choice between activation or quiescence. This decision making process is identical for every hair and it can be described by a simple set of mathematical rules. Scaling of this elemental behavior across all hairs in the skin results in striking hair regeneration patterns visible to an eye. This pattern-based mechanism of stem cell activation is very efficient and highly adaptable to changes in the environment. Work in my laboratory aims at establishing cellular and molecular bases of self-organizing regenerative behavior in the skin. Considering that pattern formation is a universal process, we are looking for similar stem cell coordination strategies in other complex biological systems.

My laboratory is also interested to understand the natural limits of stem cell plasticity in response to injury. Our ongoing work using the model of wound healing shows that natural regenerative abilities of adult mammalian skin are far greater than previously thought. We show that adipose tissue can spontaneously regenerate in skin wounds, effectively transforming scars into nearly normal looking skin. We want to understand how lineage-restricted adult stem cells expand their developmental plasticity in response to wounding and how that enables them to replicate an embryonic event of adipose tissue regeneration. Current work in this direction aims to identify the mechanism of embryonic-like regeneration in adult mammalian tissues. We are also interested in developing new anti-scarring therapeutic strategies that will rely on reactivation of endogenous tissue stem cells and recapitulation of embryonic development.
Publications Selected Publications. See a complete list at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=plikus
  Plikus MV#, Guerrero-Juarez CF, Treffeisen E, Gay DL# (2014). Epigenetic control of skin and hair regeneration after wounding. Experimental Dermatology EXD.12488
  Gay D, Yang CC, Plikus MV, Ito M, Rivera C, Treffeisen E, Doherty L, Spata M, Millar SE, Cotsarelis G (2014). CD133 Expression Correlates with Membrane Beta-Catenin and e-Cadherin Loss from Human Hair Follicle Placodes During Morphogenesis. J of Investigative Dermatology JID.2014.292
  Guerrero-Juarez CF, Ramos R, Oh JW, Hsi TC, Plikus MV# (2014). Light-Emitting Hair Follicles: Studying Skin Regeneration With In Vivo Imaging. J of Investigative Dermatology 134: 1496-1498
  Plikus MV#, Astrowski AA (2014). Deadly hairs, lethal feathers - convergent evolution of poisonous integument in mammals and birds. Experimental Dermatology EXD.12408
  Chen CC, Murray PJ, Jiang TX, Plikus MV, Chang YT, Lee OK, Widelitz RB, Chuong CM (2014). Regenerative hair waves in aging mice and extra-follicular modulators Follistatin, Dkk1 and Sfrp4. Journal of Investigative Dermatology Jid.2014.139
  Plikus MV# (2014). At the dawn of hair research – testing the limits of hair follicle regeneration. Experimental Dermatology EXD.12334
  Plikus MV, Chuong CM (2014). Macroenvironmental Regulation of Hair Cycling and Collective Regenerative Behavior. Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine 4: a015198
  Oh JW, Hsi TC, Guerrero-Juarez CF, Ramos R, Plikus MV# (2013). Organotypic skin culture. Journal of Investigative Dermatology 133: e14
  Ramos R, Guerrero-Juarez CF, Plikus MV# (2013). Hair follicle signaling networks: a dermal papilla centric approach. Journal of Investigative Dermatology 133: 2306-2308
  Plikus MV, Vollmers C, De la Cruz D, Chaix A, Ramos R, Panda S, Chuong CM (2013). Local circadian clock gates cell cycle progression of transient amplifying cells during regenerative hair cycling. PNAS 10: E2106–E2115
  Gay D, Kwon O, Zhang Z, Spata M, Plikus MV, Holler PD, Ito M, Yang Z, Treffeisen E, Kim CD, Nace A, Zhang X, Baratono S, Wang F, Ornitz DM, Millar SE, Cotsarelis G (2013). Fgf9 from dermal gamma delta T cells induces hair follicle neogenesis after wounding. Nature Medicine 19: 916-923
  Plikus MV, Gay DL, Treffeisen E, Wang A, Supapannachart RJ, Cotsarelis G (2012) Epithelial stem cells and implications for wound repair. Semin Cell Dev Biol 23: 946-953
  Plikus MV (2012). New activators and inhibitors in the hair cycle clock: targeting stem cells' state of competence. J of Investigative Dermatology 132: 1321-1324
  Plikus MV, Baker RE, Chen CC, Fare C, de la Cruz D, Andl T, Maini PK, Millar SE, Widelitz R, Chuong CM (2011). Self-organizing and stochastic behaviors during the regeneration of hair stem cells. Science 332: 586-589
  Plikus MV, Widelitz RB, Maxson R, Chuong CM (2009). Analyses of regenerative wave patterns in adult hair follicle populations reveal macro-environmental regulation of stem cell activity. International J of Developmental Biology 53: 857-868
  Plikus MV, Mayer JA, de la Cruz D, Baker RE, Maini PK, Maxson R, Chuong CM (2008). Cyclic dermal BMP signalling regulates stem cell activation during hair regeneration. Nature 451: 340-344
  Plikus MV and Chuong CM (2008). Complex hair cycle domain patterns and regenerative hair waves in living rodents. J of Investigative Dermatology 128: 1071-1080
  Plikus MV, Zhang Z, Chuong CM (2006). PubFocus: semantic MEDLINE/PubMed citations analytics through integration of controlled biomedical dictionaries and ranking algorithm. BMC Bioinformatics 7: 424
  Plikus MV, Zeichner-David M, Mayer JA, Reyna J, Bringas P, Thewissen JG, Snead ML, Chai Y, Chuong CM (2005). Morphoregulation of teeth: modulating the number, size, shape and differentiation by tuning Bmp activity. Evolution and Development 7: 440-457
  Plikus MV and Chuong CM (2004). Making waves with hairs. J of Investigative Dermatology 122: vii-ix
  Plikus MV, Wang WP, Liu J, Wang X, Jiang TX, Chuong CM (2004). Morpho-regulation of ectodermal organs: integument pathology and phenotypic variations in K14-Noggin engineered mice through modulation of bone morphogenic protein pathway. American J of Pathology 164: 1099-1114
American Society For Cell Biology
Research Centers Sue and Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center
Center for Complex Biological Systems
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Last updated 07/10/2014