Michael F. Clarke
Karel H. and Avice N. Beekuis Professor in Cancer Biology
Associate Director, Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine
Stanford School of Medicine
Dr. Clarke’s lab focuses on: i) the control of self-renewal of normal stem cells and their malignant counterparts; ii) the identification and characterization of cancer stem cells, and iii, the biology of stem cells in conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and Down Syndrome. A central issue in stem cell biology is to understand the mechanisms that regulate self-renewal versus differentiation of stem cells. His laboratory discovered that the proto-oncogene Bmi-1 regulates stem cell self-renewal via an epigenetic mechanism. Conversely, the expression of another gene, USP16 counters the action of Bmi1 and promotes the transition of daughter cells from stem cell division to become progenitor cells. By investigating the pathways upstream and downstream of Bmi1, the laboratory investigates the molecular pathways that regulate stem cell self-renewal.