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I am currently working on several projects to understand the control of gastrointestinal and cancer stem cell biology, especially how critical intrinsic genetic mutations and extrinsic extracellular components within the microenvironment influence cell behaviors. Stem cells of the gastrointestinal tract give rise to the surface lining of the epithelium, and must continuously produce new cells to replace those shed into the lumen throughout the lifespan. When mutations accumulate in these stem cells, they can grow uncontrollably into benign polyps or malignant tumors. In Dr. Calvin Kuo’s laboratory, I have used transgenic mice and primary human organoids as the models. Human organoids provide a robust primary culture system to recapitulate 3D structure and multilineage differentiation, which represents an underutilized method for the study of stem cell and cancer biology (Lo et al, Nature Cancer 2020). I have focused my efforts on establishing next generation CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing tools in primary human organoids, and applying this powerful system to gain insight into how different signaling pathways can contribute to gastrointestinal stem cell activity and tumorigenesis (Lo et al, Cancer Discovery 2021).