Koo headshot

Dr Bon-Kyoung Koo

Homeostatic regulation of adult stem cells

Email: bkk25@cam.ac.uk

Laboratory Location:

Cambridge Stem Cell Institute, Gleeson Building


Bon-Kyoung Koo has the unique experience of studying the role of endosomal E3 ubiquitin ligases in two major signalling pathways, which makes him a leading expert in this field. He is an experienced mouse geneticist with broad experience in the field of E3 ubiquitin ligases.

Bon-Kyoung participates in the Marie Curie Initial Training Network "WntsApp" and was recently awarded with the Sir Henry Dale Fellowship (2013) and ERC starting grant (2015).


ERC, Wellcome Trust, Royal Society, Marie Curie

Koo research image 2-1ratio

Clone competition in stomach glands (Credit Juergen Fink)


Homeostatic turnover in adult tissues is governed by the interplay of a multitude of signalling pathways. Upon tissue damage, adult stem cells rapidly proliferate to restore the loss and reinstate homeostasis; regulatory signalling that governs proliferation and differentiation of stem cells enable this damage response. De-regulation of these processes on the other hand results in either hyperplasia or loss of stem cells. Dr Koo investigates the role of an important class of modulators – E3 ubiquitin ligases – in tissue homeostasis. He has found two important regulators – Mib1 and RNF43. Mib1 has a crucial role in Notch ligand activation in niche cells and RNF43 attenuates Wnt activation in intestinal stem cells. His research focuses on additional E3 ubiquitin ligases that have an important role in stem cell – niche interactions in adult tissues. 

Koo group 2-1ratio

Amanda Andersson-Rolf

Juergen Fink

Seungmin Han

Jihoon Kim

Alessandra Merenda

Roxana Micsik

Gianmarco Mastrogiovanni

Teodora Trendafilova

For students planning to join our lab

A 'Must-Read' before you apply:


I will only consider those who made a deep thought about joining my lab.

Full list of publications: PubMed & Google Scholar


Plain English

Throughout life, our body needs constant renewal of cells to maintain our health. Modern biology and medical science have identified stem cells in most adult tissues as the source of this continuous regeneration. Our team aims to help answer these key questions: • How do adult tissue stem cells regulate the number of specialised cells? • How do adult tissue stem cells respond when tissue is damaged? We are learning that regeneration is tightly controlled by complex molecular signals and by the micro-environment, or ‘niche’, surrounding tissue stem cells. Specifically, we have identified that a group of proteins called E3 ubiquitin ligases (E3s) play an important role in regulating the signals that promote or inhibit regeneration. Currently, we are particularly interested in a type of dormant stem cell in the lining of the stomach. When the stomach tissue is damaged, these dormant stem cells are activated and they divide rapidly to replace lost cells. Studying this system is revealing fascinating new information about how the body repairs and regenerates.

Key Publications

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