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Ben Ohlstein received his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from UT Southwestern Medical Center in 2002. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Carnegie Institution in Baltimore, Maryland, in Allan C. Spradling’s laboratory in 2007. During his time in the Spradling laboratory, he demonstrated that the adult Drosophila midgut, like the adult human intestine, is maintained by multipotent stem cells and that the notch signaling pathway plays a crucial role in how stem cells give rise to enterocytes and enteroendocrine cells.

After his postdoctoral studies, Dr. Ohlstein joined Columbia University Medical Center where he was an associate professor of genetics and development and a member of the Columbia Stem Cell Initiative. He is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Faculty Scholar. In 2020, Dr. Ohlstein joined the Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern as an associate professor in pediatrics.

The Ohlstein lab is working to better understand the mechanisms that guide normal and abnormal tissue functions, particularly in gastrointestinal organs such as the small and large intestines and stomach, using the Drosophila intestine as a model. Ultimately, a better understanding of the biology of the Drosophila intestinal stem cells will help with diagnosis, treatment, and cures of various conditions that affect the human gastrointestinal tract.

Ohlstein Laboratory


University of Texas-Austin (1989), Arts
Medical School
Univ of Tx Southwestern Med Ct (2002), Medicine
Graduate School
Univ of Tx Southwestern Med Ct (2002), Cell Biology

Research Interest

  • Cancer stem cell biology
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Intestinal stem cell self-renewal and maintenance
  • Stem Cell Niches


Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

Maintenance of the adult Drosophila intestine: all roads lead to homeostasis.
Guo Z, Lucchetta E, Rafel N, Ohlstein B, Curr. Opin. Genet. Dev. 2016 10 40 81-86
The Drosophila midgut: a model for stem cell driven tissue regeneration.
Lucchetta EM, Ohlstein B, Wiley Interdiscip Rev Dev Biol 2012 Sep-Oct 1 5 781-8
Nonautonomous regulation of Drosophila midgut stem cell proliferation by the insulin-signaling pathway.
Choi NH, Lucchetta E, Ohlstein B, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2011 Nov 108 46 18702-7
Cell renewal in adjoining intestinal and tracheal epithelia of Manduca.
Nardi JB, Bee CM, Miller LA, Mathur D, Ohlstein B, J. Insect Physiol. 2011 Apr 57 4 487-93
The carnegie protein trap library: a versatile tool for Drosophila developmental studies.
Buszczak M, Paterno S, Lighthouse D, Bachman J, Planck J, Owen S, Skora AD, Nystul TG, Ohlstein B, Allen A, Wilhelm JE, Murphy TD, Levis RW, Matunis E, Srivali N, Hoskins RA, Spradling AC, Genetics 2007 Mar 175 3 1505-31

Honors & Awards

  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute Faculty Scholar
  • Hirschl Trust Research Scientist Award
  • Harold and Golden Lamport Award in Basic Sciences
  • Paul A. Marks Research Award
  • Searle Scholars Research Award
  • Alice Bohmfalk Trust Medical Award