Assistant Professor, Developmental & Cell Biology
|Stem cells and stem cell niche, Regeneration of tissues and organs, Biological pattern formation, Self-organization, Skin and hair follicles, Adipose tissue, WNT and BMP signaling pathways|
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.
Selected Publications. See a complete list at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=plikus
|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|
|Link to this profile||http://www.faculty.uci.edu/profile.cfm?faculty_id=5917|