Yukiko Yamashita (U of Michigan)

Yukiko Yamashita (U of Michigan)

Butler Seminar Series

Event Date/Location

February 17, 2016 - 12:00 pm
Thomas Laboratory 003


  • Photo of Yukiko Yamashita

    Yukiko Yamashita,Ph.D.

    Associate Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology
    Research Associate Professor Center for Stem Cell Biology Life Sciences Institute
    HHMI Investigator
    University of Michigan

    Yukiko Yamashita obtained her Ph.D. from Kyoto University, Japan; completing the postdoctoral fellowship with Minx Fuller at Stanford University.  She started her own laboratory at the University of Michigan in 2007, and is currently an associate professor at the University of Michigan.

    She studies how adult stem cells divide asymmetrically, giving rise to one stem cell and one differentiating cell, to maintain tissue homeostasis in the context of the stem cell niche. The particular focus is on how general cell biological processes, such as cell cycle regulation and cytoskeleton organization, which are shared by many other non-stem cells, are modulated in a stem cell-specific manner to fulfill stem cell function. 

    Yamashita is a recipient of 2008 Searle Scholar Award, 2009 ASCB WICB junior award, 2011 MacArthur Fellowship, and is an HHMI investigator since 2014. 


Asymmetric stem cell division in tissue homeostasis

Adult stem cells continuously supply highly differentiated but short-lived cells, such as blood, skin, intestinal epithelium, and sperm cells, throughout life. To maintain the balance between stem cells and differentiating cells, a failure of which may lead to tumorigenesis through excess self-renewal or tissue degeneration through excess differentiation, many stem cells have the potential to divide asymmetrically so that each division produces one stem cell and one differentiating cell.

Drosophila male germ line stem cells (GSCs) serve as an ideal model system to study stem cell behavior. They reside in the stem cell niche, which specify stem cell identity by sending essential signal(s). Stem cells have elaborate cellular mechanisms to ensure the asymmetric outcome of the division, producing one stem cell and one differentiating cell, which is the key to tissue homeostasis.

I will present the latest discoveries on the mechanisms that ensure asymmetric outcome of the stem cell divisions.


Free and open to the university community and the public


Paul Schedl, Department of Molecular Biology