Puthalakath - Regulation of apoptosis by Bcl-2 family proteins
Dr Hamsa Puthalakath
Associate Professor, College of Science, Health and Engineering
Apoptosis or cell suicide is a normal process during embryonic development as well as throughout ones life. For example, apoptosis shapes our body during development. As our brains develop, the body creates millions more cells than it needs; the ones that don't form synaptic connections undergo apoptosis so that the remaining cells function well. Similarly, during an infection, our immune cells get activated and multiply. When the infection is cleared, these cells have to be removed by apoptosis.
Apoptosis is not a perfect process. Sometimes, the wrong cells kill themselves off, and sometimes, the ones that are damaged/mutated stick around. Deregulated apoptosis can cause various diseases such as cancer, heart failure, immune system failure during sepsis, autoimmune diseases etc. Understanding the apoptosis process is important in finding a cure for these diseases. Our lab is interested understanding the molecular basis of apoptosis regulation during heart failure, sepsis and in chemo resistance.