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Live and let die: investigating the molecular events that occur in cells undergoing necroptosis

A postgraduate research opportunity at the University of Otago.

Details

Close date
Friday, 23 February 2018
Academic background
Sciences, Health Sciences
Host campus
Christchurch
On-campus or via distance?
On-campus
Qualification
Honours
Department
Pathology (UOC)
Supervisor
Professor Mark Hampton

Overview

Multicellular organisms have carefully regulated death programs to remove damaged or unwanted cells. Faults in these programs contribute to human disease. Apoptosis is the best-studied cell death program, and drugs have been designed to promote apoptosis in cancer cells. Necroptosis is a newly recognised cell death program, and while it is thought to play an important role in various diseases, relatively little is understood about the mechanisms of necroptosis and how the process is controlled.

Our research indicates that mitochondrial changes occur early in cells in which necroptosis is triggered, and that certain cellular proteins become oxidized. An honours project is available to investigate early biochemical events in the signalling pathways leading to necroptosis. Of particular interest is the protein MLKL, and how activation of this protein causes the mitochondrial changes and protein oxidation that we have observed. This project is funded by the Royal Society Marsden Fund and would occur in close collaboration with investigators from the Walter & Eliza Hall Institute in Melbourne. Students would learn how to culture cells, use flow cytometry and live-cell microscopy to measure cell death, and use a selection of biochemical techniques to measure signalling events inside the cells.

Preferred student expertise

Biochemistry, cell biology or related area

Further information

This project is one of the many available for the 2018 intake of BBiomedSc(Hons) at the University of Otago, Christchurch campus.

Contact

Professor Mark Hampton
Tel   64 3 378 6225
Email   mark.hampton@otago.ac.nz