Molecular mechanisms of cell fate generation in the developing nervous system of Drosophila

University of Dundee

Past award

Student: James Osbourne : University of Dundee

Year Award Started: 2018

All cell types in our body carry out specific tasks to sustain survival of the entire organism. However, not all cells are the same. Therefore, a key question is how cells become different from each other. Furthermore, once commit to a certain role in the body, how do cells perform the specific tasks that come with that role? Cells are not simply a homogenous accumulation of molecules within them but can establish order of their content. This is called polarisation and equips the cell with geometrical coordinates, along which a cell can organise itself it to carry out specialised functions. Stem cells can use this strategy to establish different cell types. Importantly, if this process goes wrong, diseases such as cancer can result. We use stem cells of the developing nervous system of the fruit fly to study how different cell fates are established and to understand how stem cells function in the context of cancer.

Research area: Cancer


Dr Jens Januschke
School of Life Sciences