Our bodily organs are lined by sheets of polarizing epithelial cells that provide a vital layer of protection against noxious agents in our external and internal environment. Mutations in epithelial cells result in carcinomas that make up more than 90% of all cancers.

This is an incredibly exciting time in the biomedical sciences. The human genome has been sequenced. Technologies exist to perform large-scale gene expression and protein profiling at the cellular level. A major challenge going forward is to understand how normal and mutant gene products function. By studying polarizing epithelial cells in vitro and in vivo and exploiting unique capabilities developed within the EBC, we are poised to aggressively advance our stated mission.

The EBC brings together investigators from multiple disciplines to address complex issues related to the physiology and pathophysiology of epithelial cells. Major areas of investigation include establishment and maintenance of epithelial cell polarity, regulation of vesicle trafficking and cytoskeletal organization, epithelial defense against infectious agents and the identification and characterization of adult epithelial stem cell populations.