Dean Yimlamai, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics,

Cell Biology and Pathology

Dr. Yimlamai
Dr. Yimlamai is a member of the Division of Pediatric Pathology.
Office Location:
Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC
4401 Penn Avenue, Rangos 7125
Pittsburgh, PA 15224
Contact Information:
Office Telephone: 412-692-6798
Email: dyimlamai@pitt.edu

Research Interests

The long-term goal of our group is to pursue answers to fundamental problems of human liver development and injury that will translate into more effective therapies to improve human health. We use a combination of model organ systems, cell and molecular biology, and advanced imaging techniques to understand the relationship between stem cells and their differentiated progeny. We primarily focus on the activity of the Hippo pathway in this context.

Hippo signaling is a relatively recently recognized pathway that controls organ growth. Over the past 10 years, it has become well recognized that dysfunction of the Hippo pathway rapidly leads to an increase in organ size and eventually cancer. How this important signaling pathway cooperates with other biochemical pathways, the nature and quality of cells where Hippo Signaling has been manipulated and the importance of the Hippo Pathway to cellular biochemistry are fundamental questions that we have helped to answer over the past several years.

We made the initial description of how transient changes in Hippo Signaling facilitates the expansion and culturing of hepatocytes which are limited in liver transplantation. Moreover, these changes can also confer upon hepatocytes the ability to behave as liver stem cells expanding their potential utility in transplantation (Yimlamai et al. Cell, 2014.). More recently, we demonstrated that the Hippo pathway plays a key role in regulating metabolic genes, which give cells, particularly hepatocellular carcinoma a competitive growth advantage in vivo (Cox et al., NCB. 2016).

Currently, our focus is on the role of YAP in hepatocytes to direct liver parenchymal remodeling (Yimlamai et al. In preparation.) and through these studies have found a direct link between hepatocyte activation and immune cell crosstalk.

Our main research goals include the following:

  1. Characterize the roles that liver cell sub-types play in the development of liver inflammation and fibrosis with respect to the Hippo Signaling pathway.
  2. Investigate the determinants of hepatocyte heterogeneity and their contribution to metabolic disease, liver regeneration and oncogenesis.
  3. Determine the mechanistic differences that sex plays in affecting the liver's metabolic and regenerative response.

Selected Publications

  1. Yimlamai, D.*, Christodoulou, C.*, Galli, G.G., Yanger, K., Pepe-Mooney, B., Gurung, B., Shrestha, K., Cahan, P., Stanger, B.Z., Camargo, F.D. Hippo Pathway Activity Influences Liver Cell Fate. Cell. 2014; 157:1324-1338. PMID: 24906150.
  2. Ganem, N.J.*, Cornils, H.*, Chiu, S-Y., O_Rourke, K.P., Arnaud, J., Yimlamai, D., Thiery, M., Camargo, F.D., Pellman, D. Cytokinesis Failure Triggers Hippo Tumor Suppressor Pathway Activation. Cell. 2014; 158:833-848. PMID: 25126788.
  3. Cox, A.G.*, Hwang, K.L.*, Evason, K., Brown, K.K., Beltz, S., O'Connor, K., Galli, G.G., Tsomides, A., Yimlamai, D., Chhangawala, S., Yuan, M, Lien, E., Wucherpfennig, J., Nissim, S., Minami, A., Cohen, D.E., Camargo, F.D., Asara, J., Houvras, Y., Stainier, D.Y., Goessling, W. Yap reprograms glutamine metabolism to increase nucleotide biosynthesis and enable liver growth. Nature Cell Biology. 2016; 18:886-896. PMID: 27428308.
  4. Patel, S.H., Camargo, F.D., Yimlamai, D. Hippo Signaling in the Liver Regulates Organ Size, Cell Fate, and Carcinogenesis. Gastroenterology. 2017; 152:533-545. PMID: 28003097.
  5. Leung, D. and Yimlamai, D. The intestinal microbiome and paediatric liver disease. The Lancet Gastroenterology and Hepatology. 2017; 2(6):446-455. PMID: 28497760.

* These authors contributed equally to this work.