Fairlie - Apoptosis, autophagy, cancer, drug development and peptides

Group leader

Doug FairlieDr Doug Fairlie

Senior Research Fellow, College of Science, Health and Engineering

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Research overview

Cellular fate is controlled by multiple molecular pathways. The best studied is apoptosis, a form of programmed cell death used by all multicellular organisms to eliminate cells that are damaged, no longer needed or which might become a threat to the organism. This process is often deregulated in cancer cells, allowing them to survive and proliferate when otherwise they should be eliminated.

We use a combination of biochemical, cell biology, structural biology and medicinal chemistry approaches to understand the precise molecular mechanisms that control apoptosis. Our aim is to develop new reagents, including drugs that could target and inhibit the actions of the key pro-survival protein proteins that keep cancers alive. Complementary projects in the lab focus on autophagy, a cell survival process that has significant cross-talk with apoptosis.

Research areas