Lucy O'Brien

Lucy Erin O’Brien, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology, Stanford University School of Medicine


Research Description: Dr. O’Brien was appointed as an assistant professor in 2013. Previously she was supported by an NIDDK KO1 (DK093505) to investigate the cellular and molecular mechanisms controlling nutrient-stimulated intestinal adaptation in Drosophila. Her independent research program seeks to understand the interplay between epithelial stem and differentiated cells in vivo. As a postdoc, she discovered adaptive intestinal resizing of the Drosophila midgut and characterized the role of an intestinal insulin-like peptide, dILP3, in activating stem cell divisions to drive tissue growth downstream of feeding (O’Brien et al, Cell 2011; see below). Her work established the midgut as a powerful system to study stem cell and tissue dynamics through imaging-based quantitative analysis, targeted genetic manipulations, and lineage tracing. At Stanford, her independent lab has pioneered the image-based analysis of cell populations, developed long-term live midgut imaging, and created novel, computational and bio-engineering-based approaches to track and manipulate midgut cells.

Selected relevant publications (Stanford DRC members in BOLD):

1. O'Brien, L.E. & Bilder, D.  (2013) Beyond the niche: Tissue-wide coordination of stem cell dynamics.  Annu. Rev. Cell Dev. Biol. 29 107-136.   

2. O'Brien, L.E., Soliman, S.S., Li, X., & Bilder, D. Altered modes of stem cell division drive adaptive intestinal growth.  Cell 147:603-614, 2011.

3. O'Brien, L.E., Tang, K., Kats, E.S., Schutz-Geschwender, A., Lipschutz, J.H., & Mostov, K.E. ERK and MMPs sequentially regulate distinct stages of epithelial tubule development.  Dev. Cell 7:21-32, 2004.   

4. Kim, M., O’Brien, L.E., Kwon, S.H., & Mostov, K.E. STAT1 is required for redifferentiation during Madin-Darby canine kidney tubulogenesis.  Mol. Biol. Cell 21:3926-3933, 2010.