Daniela Drummond-Barbosa, Ph.D.
Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health
Stem cells, diet, and physiology
Nutrient availability influences tissue stem cell lineages in a wide range of multicellular organisms. Dr. Drummond-Barbosa pioneered using Drosophila melanogaster as a model to study adult tissue stem cell regulation by diet, and her laboratory identified several mechanisms involving insulin-like peptides, the steroid hormone ecdysone, the nutrient sensor Target of Rapamycin (TOR), and other diet-regulated pathways that modulate germline stem cells (GSCs) and their differentiating progeny. More recently, Dr. Drummond-Barbosa’s lab discovered that adipocyte-specific disruption of amino acid transport, TOR or insulin signaling causes distinct GSC lineage phenotypes, and that diet controls multiple metabolic pathways within adipocytes that can influence specific processes in the GSC lineage. These results point to extensive communication between adipocytes and the ovary, and underscore the complexity of the physiological network that is integrated with intrinsic and local factors to modulate stem cell behavior according to dietary constraints.