Omer H. Yilmaz

Omer H. Yilmaz

Assistant Professor of Biology

Omer H. Yilmaz explores the impact of dietary interventions on stem cells, the immune system, and cancer within the intestine.






Assistant Phone


PhD 2008, University of Michigan; MD 2008, University of Michigan Medical School

Research Summary

The adult intestine is maintained by stem cells that require a cellular neighborhood, or niche, consisting in part of Paneth cells. Our laboratory will investigate the molecular mechanisms of how intestinal stem cells and their Paneth cell niche respond to diverse diets to coordinate intestinal regeneration with organismal physiology and its impact on the formation and growth of intestinal cancers.  By better understanding how intestinal stem cells adapt to diverse diets, we hope to identify and develop new strategies that prevent and reduce the growth of cancers involving the intestinal tract that includes the small intestine, colon, and rectum.


  • Pew-Stewart Trust Scholar, 2016-2020
  • Sidney Kimmel Scholar, 2016-2020
  • V Foundation Scholar, 2014-2017
  • Harold M. Weintraub Award, 2007

Key Publications

  1. In vivo genome editing and organoid transplantation models of colorectal cancer and metastasis. Roper, J, Tammela, T, Cetinbas, NM, Akkad, A, Roghanian, A, Rickelt, S, Almeqdadi, M, Wu, K, Oberli, MA, Sánchez-Rivera, FJ et al.. 2017. Nat. Biotechnol. 35, 569-576.
    doi: 10.1038/nbt.3836PMID: 28459449
  2. High-fat diet enhances stemness and tumorigenicity of intestinal progenitors. Beyaz, S, Mana, MD, Roper, J, Kedrin, D, Saadatpour, A, Hong, SJ, Bauer-Rowe, KE, Xifaras, ME, Akkad, A, Arias, E et al.. 2016. Nature 531, 53-8.
    doi: 10.1038/nature17173PMID: 26935695
  3. Dietary and metabolic control of stem cell function in physiology and cancer. Mihaylova, MM, Sabatini, DM, Yilmaz, ÖH. 2014. Cell Stem Cell 14, 292-305.
    doi: 10.1016/j.stem.2014.02.008PMID: 24607404
  4. mTORC1 in the Paneth cell niche couples intestinal stem-cell function to calorie intake. Yilmaz, ÖH, Katajisto, P, Lamming, DW, Gültekin, Y, Bauer-Rowe, KE, Sengupta, S, Birsoy, K, Dursun, A, Yilmaz, VO, Selig, M et al.. 2012. Nature 486, 490-5.
    doi: 10.1038/nature11163PMID: 22722868
  5. Pten dependence distinguishes haematopoietic stem cells from leukaemia-initiating cells. Yilmaz, OH, Valdez, R, Theisen, BK, Guo, W, Ferguson, DO, Wu, H, Morrison, SJ. 2006. Nature 441, 475-82.
    doi: 10.1038/nature04703PMID: 16598206

Recent Publications

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