Columbia University Medical Center

Benjamin Ohlstein

Principal Investigator
M.D., Ph.D. University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

In order to better understand how the behavior of intestinal stem cells and their progeny are regulated, Dr. Ohlstein decided to search for the presence of ISCs in the midguts of adult Drosophila melanogaster, a well studied and well-characterized model organism. The midguts of Drosophila, like vertebrate intestines, are made up of enterocytes interspersed with hormone producing enteroendocrine cells. However, unlike in vertebrates, ISCs had not been previously described in Drosophila. Using lineage labeling, Dr. Ohlstein was able to demonstrate for the first time the existence of multipotent intestinal stem cells in Drosophila (Drosophila Image Award 2007). Drosophila ISCs, like vertebrate ISCs, are multipotent, producing both enterocytes and enteroendocrine cells.

​Dr. Ohlstein also coordinated the Columbia Stem Cell Initiative (CSCI). In the past decade Dr. Ohlstein and his team studied stem cell niche in Drosophila model system. Ohlstein Lab investigated the cellular and molecular mechanisms that regulate ISCs in their niche, analyzed the regulation of gut homeostasis, and  studied the response of ISCs to changes in diet.

Previous Lab Members
Alyssa Bost - Graduate Student​
Ian Driver - Graduate Student
Divya Mathur - Postdoc
Zheng Guo - Postdoc
Na Hyun Choi - Postdoc
Kate Buzzi - Clinical Postdoc
Joe Wolken - Lab Manager

Previous Undergraduate Assistants
Lindsey Remark
​Paige Lerman 
​Cindy Law
​Christina Eckhardt
​Elisha Hwang