Ben Ohlstein Lab

Research Focus

Adult stem cells play a critical role in maintaining and repairing damaged tissues and organs over the course of our lives. This is especially true for organs like the skin and the intestines, whose cells have high turnover rates and need to link the production of new cells with the loss of old cells to keep tissues healthy and functioning. When these mechanisms become corrupted or break down, there can be serious consequences, including compromised tissue function, overgrowth of cells, and cancer.

Using the Drosophila intestine as a model, our lab is working to better understand the mechanisms that guide normal and abnormal tissue functions, particularly in gastrointestinal organs such as the small and large intestines and stomach. We are employing a combination of genetic, biochemical, and biological approaches to precisely determine how intestinal stem cell division, number, and differentiation occurs throughout the course of normal development. Ultimately, a better understanding of the biology of the Drosophila intestinal stem cells will help with diagnosis, treatment, and cures of various conditions that affect the human gastrointestinal tract.

Ben Ohlstein received his bachelor’s degree in liberal arts from the University of Texas at Austin in 1989 and his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from UT Southwestern Medical Center in…
Full Bio

Research Projects

Select Publications

Wu, S., Yang, Y., Tang, R., Zhang, S., Qin, P., Lin, R., Rafel, N., Lucchetta, E.M., Ohlstein, B., and Z. Guo. (2023). Apical-basal polarity precisely determines intestinal stem cell number by regulating Prospero threshold. Cell Reports 42, 112093. (PubMed)

Abu, F., and B. Ohlstein. (2021). Monitoring Gut Acidification in the Adult Drosophila Intestine. JoVE doi: 10.3791/63141. (PubMed)

Lucchetta, E.M., and B. Ohlstein. (2017). Amitosis of Polyploid Cells Regenerates Functional Stem Cells in the Drosophila Intestine. Cell Stem Cell 20, 609-620. (PubMed)

Guo, Z., and B. Ohlstein. (2015). Stem cell regulation. Bidirectional Notch signaling regulates Drosophila intestinal stem cell multipotency. Science 350: aab0988. (PubMed)

Driver, I., and B. Ohlstein.(2014). Specification of regional intestinal stem cell identity during Drosophila metamorphosis. Development 141, 1848-1856. (PubMed)

Guo, Z., Driver, I., and B. Ohlstein. (2013). Injury-induced BMP signaling negatively regulates Drosophila midgut homeostasis. Journal of Cell Biology 201, 945-961. (PubMed)

Mathur, D., Bost, A., Driver, I., and B. Ohlstein. (2010). A transient niche regulates the specification of Drosophila intestinal stem cells. Science 327, 210-213. (PubMed)

Lab Members

Farhan Abu, Ph.D.

Senior Scientist, AIM Immunotech Inc.  
Senior Research Scientist (2020-2023)

Alysa Bost, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow, Cornell University
Graduate Student (2008-2014)

Kate Buzzi, M.D.

Assistant Professor, Pediatrics, Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell
Pediatric GI Fellow (2011-2013)

Na Hyun Choi, Ph.D.

Research Scientist, Yonsei University
Postdoctoral Fellow (2008-2011)

Ian Driver, Ph.D.

Head of Bioinformatics at Gordian Biotechnology
Graduate Student (2009-2014)

Zheng Guo, Ph.D.

Professor, Huazhong University of Science and Technology
Postdoctoral Fellow (2011-2017)

Elena Lucchetta, Ph.D.

Program Officer, Helmsley Charitable Trust’s Crohn’s Disease Program
Postdoctoral Fellow (2011-2020)

Divya Mathur, Ph.D

Entrepreneur in Residence, Third Rock Ventures
Postdoctoral Fellow (2008-2011)

Neus Rafel, Ph.D.

Senior Medical Writer, Coefficient Health
Postdoctoral Fellow (2011-2020)

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