A gift to the Department of Surgery helps our physicians and scientists find new treatments and cures for serious diseases.
Jason Pomerantz, M.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery. An accomplished craniofacial surgeon, Dr. Pomerantz specializes in pediatric plastic and reconstructive surgery including repair of craniofacial anomalies. He cares for children and adults with congenital or acquired deformities, especially the head and face, including cleft lip and palate, craniosynostosis and traumatic facial injuries.
Dr. Pomerantz earned his medical degree at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He completed a residency at UCSF, a postdoctoral research fellowship in regeneration biology at Stanford University, and a fellowship in craniofacial surgery at the University of Washington.
As a physician-scientist, Dr. Pomerantz is exploring ways to address problems that cannot be treated surgically, such as amputations and lost heart muscle. A major focus of his research is to understand why primitive organisms such as newts and salamanders have the ability to regenerate limbs, while humans and other mammals do not.
Dr. Pomerantz is a researcher at the The UCSF Program in Craniofacial and Mesenchymal Biology, and has affiliations with the UCSF Biomedical Sciences (BMS) Graduate Program, and The Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regeneration Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCSF.
His scientific collaboration with the Blau Laboratory, Baxter Laboratory for Stem Cell Biology at Stanford University, resulted in a paper in the journal Cell Stem Cell that has garnered considerable public interest. (see also First Steps in Unlocking the Human Ability to Regenerate).
Ultimately, Dr. Pomerantz and colleagues hope to identify the genes responsible for regeneration, genes that have evolved differently between species. This has implications for the reconstruction of damaged or missing tissue resulting from congenital abnormalities and those acquired as a result of trauma.
My research interests are in mesenchymal tissue regeneration. Our lab is taking broadly based molecular, cellular, organismal and evolutionary approaches to study skeletal and cardiac muscle regeneration and to understand how different regenerative capacities arose among species. The ultimate practical goal of our research is to develop novel approaches to repair and regenerate tissues that will have a positive impact on the treatment of a range of human diseases such as muscle loss after trauma and cardiac dysfunction after infarction. We are using the mouse, zebrafish and axolotl as model organisms.
In regenerative organisms such as the zebrafish and axolotl, evidence suggests that apart from classical tissue stem cells, regeneration can occur by an alternative mechanism whereby post-mitotic differentiated cells reenter the cell cycle, proliferate and give rise to the regenerate. The existence of such a mechanism may underlie the extraordinary ability of these animals to regenerate body parts, including the heart. By focusing on differences in the maintenance of the post-mitotic state, we are developing models of regeneration in mice where regulation mimics the scenario in regenerative organisms.
As a clinician, Dr. Pomerantz is a plastic surgeon who specializes in pediatric plastic and reconstructive surgery including the treatment of craniofacial anomalies. He cares for children and adults with congenital or acquired deformities, especially of the head and face, such as cleft lip and palate, craniosynostosis and traumatic facial injuries.
A research group at Stanford University, led by Helen M. Blau, Jason H. Pomerantz (pictured left), now an Assistant Professor of Surgery in the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at UCSF, and Kostandin V. Pajcini, has, as reported by the NY Times, "taken a possible first step toward unlocking the human ability to regenerate. By inactivating two genes that work to suppress tumors, they got mouse muscle cells to revert to a younger state, start dividing and help repair tissue."
Read the full story at:
Two New Paths to the Dream: Regeneration - New York Times
New Clues on Regrowing Tissue - Wall Street Journal
Muscling in on limb regeneration - NatureNews
Transient Inactivation of Rb and ARF Yields Regenerative Cells from Postmitotic Mammalian Muscle - Original Article in "Cell Stem Cell"