Cell & Developmental Biology
faculty photo

Ben Z. Stanger, M.D., Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Medicine
Department: Medicine
Graduate Group Affiliations

Contact information
Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute
Division of Gastroenterology
Department of Medicine
University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine
512 Biomedical Research Bldg II/III (Office)
527 Biomedical Research Bldg II/III (Lab)
421 Curie Boulevard
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Office: 215-746-5560
Fax: 215-573-2486
SB (Life Sciences)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1988.
MD (Medicine)
Harvard Medical School, 1997.
PhD (Genetics)
Harvard Medical School, 1997.
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Description of Research Expertise

Research Interests

Cell Plasticity
Pancreatic Cancer
Liver Regeneration

Key words: Metastasis, Stem Cells, Development, Regeneration, Pancreatic Cancer, Organogenesis

Description of Research
Cell Plasticity in Regeneration and Cancer
During development, cells acquire specialized features through a series of differentiation events. Under normal circumstances, adult cells retain their differentiated identities. However, under a variety of experimental and physiological situations, cell identity can shift. This adult cell plasticity can involve an interchange between adult cellular identities (termed "trans-differentiation") or a reversion from a specialized state to a progenitor stated (termed "de-differentiation"). Our laboratory uses genetically engineered mice to understand how cell identity is maintained in vivo. We study cellular plasticity in the context of liver regeneration, diabetes, and cancer - where epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition promotes cell invasion and metastasis. We believe that the ability to manipulate cellular identity in these settings will facilitate the development of novel therapies for cancer and degenerative disease.

Rotation Projects
Rotation projects may be available based upon applicant interest. Please contact Dr. Stanger directly to discuss potential projects.

Lab personnel:
Ben Stanger, MD, PhD – Principal Instigator
Chenghua Yang - Research Specialist, Lab Manager
Ravi Maddipatti, MD - Research Associate
David Balli, PhD - Postdoctoral Researcher
Neha Bhagwat, PhD - Postdoctoral Researcher
Yi-Ju Chen, PhD - Postdoctoral Researcher
Allyson J. Merrell, PhD - Postdoctoral Researcher
Taiji Yamazoe, PhD - Postdoctoral Fellow
Nicole Aiello - Graduate Student
Jinyang Li - Graduate Student
Bobby Norgard - Graduate Student
Ben Kahn - Undergraduate Student
Hannah Park - Undergraduate Student
Amine Sahmoud - Undergraduate Student

Administrative Assistant:
Laura Murillo

Selected Publications

Maddipati R, Stanger BZ: Pancreatic Cancer Metastases Harbor Evidence of Polyclonality. Cancer Discov 5(10): 1086-97, 2015.

Penzo-Méndez AI, Chen Y1, Li J, Witze ES, Stanger BZ: Spontaneous Cell Competition in Immortalized Mammalian Cell Lines. PLoS One 10(7): e0132437, 2015.

Stanger BZ: Cellular homeostasis and repair in the mammalian liver. Annu Rev Physiol 77: 179-200, 2015.

Rhim AD, Oberstein PE, Thomas DH, Mirek ET, Palermo CF, Sastra SA, Dekleva EN, Saunders T, Becerra CP, Tattersall IW, Westphalen CB, Kitajewski J, Fernandez-Berrena MG, Fernandez-Zapico ME, Iacobuzzio-Donahue C, Olive KP*, Stanger BZ*: Stromal elements act to restrain, rather than support, pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. Cancer Cell 25(6): 735-747, 2014 Notes: *Co-corresponding authors.

Yanger K, Knigin D, Zong Y, Maggs L, Gu G, Akiyama H, Pikarsky E, Stanger BZ: Adult hepatocytes are generated by self-duplication rather than stem-cell differentiation. Cell Stem Cell 15(3): 340-9, 2014.

Chen Y-J, Finkbeiner SR, Weinblatt D, Emmett MJ, Tameire F, Yousefi M, Yang C, Maehr R, Zhou Q, Shemer R, Dor Y, Li C, Spence JR, Stanger BZ : De novo formation of insulin-producing “neo-ß-cell islets” from intestinal crypts. Cell Reports 6(6): 1046–58, 2014.

Gao T, Zhou D, Yang C, Singh T, Penzo-Mendez A, Maddipati R, Tzatsos A, Bardeesy N, Avruch J, Stanger BZ: Hippo Signaling Regulates Differentiation and Maintenance in the Exocrine Pancreas. Gastroenterology 144(7): 1543-1553, 2013

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Last updated: 11/16/2015
The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania

Department of Cell and Developmental Biology
1150 BRB II
421 Currie Boulevard
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Tel: (215) 573-9306
Fax: (215) 898-9871