University of Cambridge > > Departmental Seminar Programme, Department of Veterinary Medicine > Unlocking medical questions with a developmental biology key

Unlocking medical questions with a developmental biology key

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Fiona Roby.

During embryo development there is a critical balance between cell proliferation to increase cell numbers, and cell differentiation to achieve specialised and functional tissues. Understanding the regulation of this balance is also pivotal to understand how the processes become hi-jacked and deranged in diseases such as cancer, and also to enable in vitro generation of cell differentiation for regenerative medicine. During development, cell identity is strongly influenced by a large family of basic-Helix-Loop-Helix (bHLH) transcription factors, which act in all three embryonic germ layers to direct tissue-specific differentiation. These same factors also have a potent ability to reprogram cells into a range of tissues in vitro. My PhD and early Fellowship work has been in the lab of Professor Anna Philpott, using Xenopus frog embryos to explore a conserved regulatory mechanism amongst bHLH transcription factors. In this talk, I will highlight the relevance of developmental biology in the medical contexts of oncology and regenerative medicine, and I will introduce you to the world of Xenopus research. Finally, I will demonstrate the Philpott Lab’s discovery of a mechanism to coordinate the activity of these master regulator transcription factors with the cell cycle, and I will show you how manipulation of these factors can enhance cellular reprogramming strategies.

This talk is part of the Departmental Seminar Programme, Department of Veterinary Medicine series.

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