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Friday 22 December 2017 3:52pm

Bee Bathish and Emma Spencer (2017)Assistant Research Fellow Dr Emma Spencer from the Centre for Free Radical Research has won the 2017 PSOC Best Exit Seminar award.

The Postgraduate Student Otago (Christchurch) association assembles a panel of UOC research staff each year to judge which student gave the best seminar at the UOC Research Seminar Series upon or nearing completion of their PhD.

Dr Spencer graduated in May, and for her PhD she investigated isothiocyanates, which are compounds produced by cruciferous vegetables. Evidence indicates increased dietary intake protects people against inflammatory disease and cancer.

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.

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