George Eisenhoffer

George Eisenhoffer, JR



Assistant Professor, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

B.A., University of Texas at Austin, 1999
Ph.D., University of Utah,Salt Lake City, 2008
Postdoc, Huntsman Cancer Institute, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2009-14

Cell death and proliferation of epithelial cells in zebrafish

My lab focuses on understanding the coordination of cell division and death to control overall cell numbers in epithelia. Epithelial tissues provide an essential protective barrier for the organs they encase, and are the primary sites where most solid tumors or carcinomas form. Alterations in both cell loss and proliferation have been implicated in numerous human diseases, including cancer, yet our knowledge of how these two processes influence each other to regulate cell numbers within normal epithelia remains limited. The goal of our research is to elucidate the mechanisms that regulate epithelial cell turnover while preserving barrier function. Our work has uncovered that mechanical forces guide the inter-relationship between cell death and division during homeostatic cell turnover in epithelia, and that damage elicits a separate but equally important response. We have found that cell extrusion, a process used to eliminate cells from epithelia without disrupting barrier function, is the key to driving turnover in both scenarios. To investigate extrusion in a living epithelial tissue, we developed a cellular and molecular toolset to study the epidermis of developing zebrafish. This system provides unparalleled access to analyze epithelial cell turnover in vivo and in real time. We utilize a combinatorial approach that involves timelapse imaging and reverse genetic techniques to characterize cell turnover under physiological conditions, after damage, and when extrusion is perturbed to gain a better understanding of the specific alterations that lead to epithelial pathologies and cancer.

Selected Publications

Adey NB, Lei M, Howard MT, Jensen JD, Mayo DA, Butel DL, Coffin SC, Moyer TC, Slade DE, Spute MK, Hancock AM, Eisenhoffer GT, Dalley BK, McNeely MR (2002) Gains in sensitivity with a device that mixes microarray hybridization solution in a 25-microm-thick chamber. Analytical Chemistry 74:6413-6417.

Eisenhoffer GT, Kang H, Sánchez Alvarado A (2008) Molecular analysis of stem cells and their descendants during cell turnover and regeneration in the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea. Cell Stem Cell 3:327-339.

Pearson BJ, Eisenhoffer GT, Gurley KA, Rink JC, Miller DE, Sánchez Alvarado A (2009) Formaldehyde-based whole-mount in situ hybridization method for planarians. Developmental Dynamics 238:443-450.

Eisenhoffer GT, Rosenblatt J (2011) Live imaging of cell extrusion from the epidermis of developing zebrafish. Journal of Visualized Experiments 52:2689.

Eisenhoffer GT, Loftus PD, Yoshigi M, Otsuna H, Chien CB, Morcos PA, Rosenblatt J (2012) Crowding induces live cell extrusion to maintain homeostatic cell numbers in epithelia. Nature 484:546-549.

Eisenhoffer GT, Rosenblatt J (2013) Bringing balance by force: live cell extrusion controls epithelial cell numbers. Trends in Cell Biology 23:185-192.

Eisenhoffer GT, Slattum G, Ruiz OE, Otsuna H, Bryan CD, Lopez J, Wagner DS, Bonkowsky JL, Chien CB, Dorsky RI, Rosenblatt J (2016) A toolbox to study epidermal cell types in zebrafish. Journal of Cell Science doi: 10.1242.

Contact Information

George Eisenhoffer Jr., Ph.D.
Department of Molecular Genetics, Unit 1010
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
1515 Holcombe Blvd. S11.8336A
Houston, Texas 77030, U.S.A.

Lab Website

Tel: (713) 563-2754

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