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Monday 3 April 2017 3:56pm

PhD candidate Emma Spencer gave her exit seminar at the UOC Research Seminar Series on Monday 3 April 2017 in the Beaven Lecture Theatre.

Emma Spencer (2013)Emma has been investigating isothiocyanates which are compounds produced by cruciferous vegetables. Evidence indicates increased dietary intake protects people against inflammatory disease and cancer.

Emma examined the ability of a library of synthetic isothiocyanates to inhibit the pro-inflammatory cytokine MIF, and to trigger apoptotic cell death. Some isothiocyanates inhibited MIF at low micromolar concentrations and have therapeutic potential.

One of the isothiocyanates was able to trigger apoptosis in cells overexpressing Bcl-2, a protein that is present at high levels in many cancers. The isothiocyanate had a greater effect on mitochondrial function in cells with Bcl-2, suggesting a mechanism for how it bypasses Bcl-2 action. Understanding exactly how this happens could be valuable for the design of new anti-cancer compounds.

Professors Mark Hampton and Tony Kettle are Emma's PhD supervisors. She will graduate in May.

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