Niche-Stem Cell Interactions


Niche-Stem cell folks



Undergrad: Sichuan University

 University of Washington


Research Interest:

Signaling & Transcriptional Regulation of Self-Renewal



Undergrad: Clemson University


Research Interest:

Morphogenesis of the Testis NIche



Ph.D.: Princeton University


Research Interest:

Coordination of Stem Cell behavior by Niche Signaling


Stem cells are key for continual renewal of many tissues in our bodies. In addition, the in vitro manipulation of stem cells holds much promise in regenerative medicine. Unfortunately, there are severe limitations in our knowledge of the regulation of stem cells. These limitations compromise both our understanding of normal tissue renewal, as well as the facility with which stem cells can be grown and manipulated in vitro. We are trying to remove such limitations by studying stem cells within their natural environment, the niche, by using Drosophila spermatogenesis as a model Stem Cell-Niche system. This allows us to bring to bear modern approaches to uncover new regulatory concepts governing niche-stem cell interactions.

We attack this system both genetically and at a genomic scale. In addition, we study not only the testis, in which the stem cells and their niche are operating at steady-state, but also the initial establishment of the niche-stem cell environment, which occurs during gonadogenesis. These combined approaches have uncovered key self-renewal factors, such as the transcriptional repressor, Zfh1, as well as the rules by which cells are instructed to adopt stem cell or niche cell fate.

Given the deep conservation of developmental mechanisms across species, we are confidant that concepts revealed by our studies in the fruitfly will apply to other stem cell-niche interactions in us.



Zheng, Q., Wang, Y., Vargas, E. and DiNardo, S. 
magu is required for germline stem cell self-renewal through BMP signaling in the Drosophila testis. Developmental Biology, 357(1):202-10.  PMCID: in process

DiNardo S, Okegbe T, Wingert L, Freilich S and Terry N.
lines and bowl affect the specification of niche cells in the Drosophila testis. Development 138: 1687-1696, May 2011.

Okegbe T and DiNardo S. 
The endoderm specifies the mesodermal niche for the germline in Drosophila via Delta-Notch signaling. Development 138: 1259-1267, Apr 2011.

Leatherman JL and DiNardo S.
Germline self-renewal requires cyst stem cells and stat regulates niche adhesion in Drosophila testes. Nature Cell Biology 12: 806–811, Aug 2010 (with COVER).

Leatherman JL and DiNardo S.
Zfh-1 controls somatic stem cell self-renewal in the Drosophila testis and nonautonomously influences germline stem cell self-renewal. Cell Stem Cell 3(1): 44-54, July 2008.

Wallenfang MR, Nayak R, DiNardo S.
Dynamics of the male germline stem cell population during aging of Drosophila melanogaster. Aging Cell 5(4): 297-304, Aug 2006.

Terry NA, Tulina N, Matunis E, DiNardo, S.
Novel regulators revealed by profiling Drosophila testis stem cells within their niche. Developmental Biology 294(1): 246-57, Jun 1 2006.