Deborah Gumucio

James Douglas Engel Collegiate Professor
Research Focus: Gut morphogenesis, epithelial-mesenchymal interactions, lumen formation, amnion fate determination

2045 BSRB 
109 Zina Pitcher Place
Ann Arbor MI 48109-2200


Areas of Interest

One project is centered on development and homeostasis of the intestine:  How does the intestine develop in the embryo? What factors account for its tremendous longitudinal growth? What signaling mechanisms underlie the formation of the intestinal villi (fingerlike projections that establish the enormous absorptive surface)? In adults, how does Hedgehog signaling modify inflammation in the intestine?

A second project grows from our recent discovery that human pluripotent stem cells readily form cysts in culture (balls of cells with a central lumen). This process appears to reflect the formation of the amniotic sac in human embryos. In fact, over 5 days in culture, these pluripotent cysts spontaneously self-organize to form amniotic sac-like structures. These structures are critical for early human development, but have never previously been studied due to lack of appropriate culture systems. We now want to know: What cellular machinery is involved in lumen formation? How do the pluripotent cells differentiate into amnion cells?


Dr. Gumucio is the Director of the BioArtography Project. Initiated in 2005, BioArtography collates beautiful microscopic images from UM researchers all over campus. With help from Arts Professionals, these striking images are offered to the public during the Ann Arbor Art Fair and at At the Art Fair booth, faculty, staff and trainees interact with the public and explain the scientific and health significance of their work. Each image is sold with an easily understood explanation of the research. All proceeds from these sales are used to send trainees to important meetings and symposia, where they can present their work to leaders in their field.

Associated Grad Programs

Cell & Developmental Biology, Cellular & Molecular BiologyBioInformaticsMSTP


  • University of Michigan, Ph.D., 04/1986 
  • University of Michigan, M.P.H., 07/1975 
  • University of Michigan, B.A., 04/1971

Published Articles or Reviews

My work has been published as Miller, DL and as Gumucio D. Full links to both are provided here:  (10 publications) (96 publications)