Terry P. Yamaguchi, Ph.D.

Terry P. Yamaguchi, Ph.D.
Senior Investigator
Head, Cell Signaling in Vertebrate Development Section

Dr. Yamaguchi studies how intercellular signals control embryonic development. His recent studies of the Wnt family of signaling molecules have provided a new understanding of how Wnts regulate the transcription of target genes to control the fate of embryonic and adult stem cells.

Dr. Yamaguchi’s lab emphasizes innovative genetic and genome-wide approaches to elucidate the gene regulatory networks that transduce Wnt signals in stem cells, and is developing new animal models of Wnt pathway-dependent intestinal tumorigenesis.

Areas of Expertise

1) embryology, 2) stem cell, 3) Wnt, 4) transcription factors, 5) intestinal tumorigenesis,
6) genomics

Contact Info

Terry P. Yamaguchi, Ph.D.
Center for Cancer Research
National Cancer Institute
Building 560, Room 21-22
Frederick, MD 21701-1201
Ph: 301- 846-1732

The Role of Wnts in Vertebrate Development and Cancer

Our laboratory is interested in understanding how intercellular signals control embryonic development. Wnts are powerful secreted signaling molecules that control the growth, differentiation and movement of embryonic and adult cells. Wnts exert their effects on cellular behavior, at least in part, by stimulating biochemical pathways that control gene expression. Genetic mutations in components of the Wnt signaling pathway can lead to unrestrained signaling and cancer.

It has become increasingly clear that Wnts can regulate the growth and differentiation of embryonic and adult stem cells, and that sustained Wnt signaling can promote tumorigenesis by maintaining adult stem cells.

We are currently focused on identifying and understanding the function of the target genes of Wnt signaling during early embryonic development. We are taking genetic and genome-wide approaches to transcriptionally profile embryos lacking Wnt gene function. We are particularly interested in addressing how stem cell potency and lineage determination are regulated by Wnt signals.

Our studies have led to the identification of many new genes that are implicated in the regulation of epiblast pluripotency and the formation of multipotent mesoderm progenitors. Remarkably, a screen of adult intestinal stem cells for expression of our embryonic Wnt target genes revealed several genes whose expression was common to these disparate stem cell populations. Many of these genes were also highly expressed in intestinal tumors caused by deregulated Wnt signaling.

Future studies will focus on the roles that specific Wnt target transcription factors play in the transduction of the Wnt signals that regulate embryo stem cell development and intestinal tumorigenesis.

NIH Scientific Focus Areas:
Cell Biology, Developmental Biology, Genetics and Genomics, Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, Stem Cell Biology
View Dr. Yamaguchi's PubMed Summary.

Selected Recent Publications

  1. Garriock RJ, Chalamalasetty RB, Zhu J, Kennedy MW, Kumar A, Mackem S, Yamaguchi TP.
    Development. 147(8): dev185108, 2020. [ Journal Article ]
  2. Minegishi K, Hashimoto M, Ajima R, Takaoka K, Shinohara K, Ikawa Y, Nishimura H, McMahon AP, Willert K, Okada Y, Sasaki H, Shi D, Fujimori T, Ohtsuka T, Igarashi Y, Yamaguchi TP, Shimono A, Shiratori H, Hamada H.
    Dev Cell. 40(5): 439-52, 2017. [ Journal Article ]
  3. Kennedy MW, Chalamalasetty RB, Thomas S, Garriock RJ, Jailwala P, Yamaguchi TP
    Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 113(13): 3545-50, 2016. [ Journal Article ]
  4. Kumar A, Chalamalasetty RB, Kennedy MW, Thomas S, Inala SN, Garriock RJ, Yamaguchi TP.
    Mol Cell Biol. 36(12): 1793-802, 2016. [ Journal Article ]
  5. Garriock RJ, Chalamalasetty RB, Kennedy MW, Canizales LC, Lewandoski M, Yamaguchi TP
    Development. 142(9): 1628-38, 2015. [ Journal Article ]

Dr. Terry Yamaguchi received his Ph.D. from the University of Toronto where, with Dr. Janet Rossant, he studied the function of FGF and VEGF signaling pathways in mouse and embryonic stem cell development. He began studying the Wnt family of signaling molecules while an International Human Frontier Science Program Fellow and Medical Research Council of Canada Fellow with Dr. Andrew P. McMahon at Harvard University. Dr. Yamaguchi joined the Cancer and Developmental Biology Laboratory in 2000, where he has established the Cell Signaling in Vertebrate Development Section.

Name Position
Ravi B. Chalamalasetty, Ph.D. Staff Scientist
Sara Thomas M.S. Research Biologist
Nikolaos Mandalos Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow (Visiting)
Claire Scott Postbaccalaureate Fellow (CRTA)
Chandra Bhan Singh Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow (Visiting)
Aysegul Dogan
Aysegul Dogan, Ph.D Postdoctoral Fellow 2016-2018
Assistant Profesor
Genetics and Bioengineering Department
Stem Cell and Gene Therapy Laboratory
Yeditepe University, Turkey
Rieko Ajima, Ph.D.
Rieko Ajima, Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow 2006-2011

Assistant Professor
Mammalian Development Group
National Institute of Genetics, Japan


Bill Dunty, Ph.D.
Bill Dunty, Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow 2003-2009

Program Director
Division of Metabolism and Health Effects
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
National Institutes of Health

Dr. Dunty's focus areas include basic and clinical research on the consequences of prenatal alcohol exposure, animal models of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD), and alcohol-associated carcinogenesis. Learn more...