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What can flies, yeast and algae tell us about our body? Well a lot! This session will explore a range of different models that are used to look at aspects of the human body and why they're important.
Cilia and flagella moving to the beat
Dr Kirsty Wan (Research Fellow)
Common to an ever-expanding spectrum of human disorders (with diverse clinical phenotypes e.g. blindness, obesity, respiratory and renal diseases) are mutations/defects in a ubiquitous cellular organelle: the eukaryotic cilium. Remarkably, we owe much of our understanding of basic cilia biology to a pond-dwelling unicellular green alga called Chlamydomonas, or Chlamy, for short, which uses its two appendages to swim. In this talk we will meet and greet this humble pond weed, and discuss how it can help further our understanding of the intimate connections between cilia and ciliopathies.
Keeping in shape – Using yeast to understand human cell shape
Connor Horton (PhD Student)
The shape that cells adopt is important for their survival and function. Neurons, for example, form cable-like projections that travel long distances to wire up the nervous system. For this to happen, building materials must be delivered to area of growth. This delivery is controlled by a protein complex called the exocyst. This is present in humans, plants and fungi and has been kept through evolution highlighting its importance. I'll show how I use yeast to model the exocyst’s role in cell shape and how these findings help to understand what controls the complex shapes of human cells.
Fly brain, my brain: Learning lots from larval lobes
Dr. Lori Borgal (Research Fellow)
What can we learn from a brain 150 times smaller than ours? Turns out, a lot - especially about how neural stem cells divide. My research looks at a gene that affects whether neural stem cells divide too little, causing microcephaly (small brains), or too much, causing cancer.