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Dr. Poon’s exploration of the disassembly of cells during turnover has shown that the mechanism of cell death has a regulated rather than random component. He explains why this is important by describing:

  • The evidence of this regulation, including the release of vesicles.
  • What these vesicles contain and why that’s important.
  • What these findings may offer disease-fighting drug developments.

Dr. Ivan Poon of La Trobe University is a Senior Research Fellow in biochemistry and genetics. He works in extracellular vesicles and cell death. In this podcast, he describes why it is so important to understand this molecular process and some of their newest findings. A cell invests a great deal of energy into manufacturing and releasing these apoptotic bodies while they are in the process of dying. Dr. Poon is trying to understand why.

The basics of the mechanism of cell death is not new, but the understanding of the depth of regulation in the process is. Perhaps significant as well, different cell types release these vesicles in different ways. T-cells and monocytes emit apoptotic bodies in alternate sizes and through different mechanisms. These vesicles contain DNA, RNA, proteins, and lipids among other molecules and therefore must have some significance. 

Dr. Poon prioritizes discovering the molecular mechanism of the dying cell and what regulates the process. He hopes these discoveries will lead to drugs that can inhibit or accelerate cell deaths according to what may help curb the disease’s progress. 

For more, see Dr. Poon’s page on the La Trobe University web site: https://scholars.latrobe.edu.au/display/ipoon

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