1. Cell-Cell Communication and Cell Signaling
Members of the Department are active participants in an inter-departmental Gap Junction Group. The research efforts of the Group are designed to examine the role of gap junctions in health in disease with special interests in human diseases linked to connexin mutations, male and female reproduction, development, endothelial barrier integrity, peripheral neuropathies, breast cancer and carcinogenesis. Research interests extend beyond the Group and include intracellular signaling as linked to chondrocyte differentiation and arthritis, osteoblast differentiation in bone development and small GTPases in cell migration, as well as cellular and molecular events in fetal-maternal interactions during placental development.
2. Cell Biology of Cancer, Cell Differentiation and Aging
A cell has four distinct paths that it can follow during its lifetime. It can divide into two daughter cells, through the process of mitosis. A cell can differentiate into one of the over two hundred distinct cell types in the human body. Over time, it can age in a process called senescence. Lastly, in a carefully regulated process called apoptosis a cell can undergo an orderly death. Many human diseases, cancer being foremost, are the product of the dysregulation of these four processes. Cell biology is the study of these different cellular pathways, and the goal of the research to understand how cells function and how errors can be corrected. Studies of cellular and molecular mechanisms responsible for invasion and metastasis by cancer cells are paving new ways of treating human cancer.
3. Vascular Biology and Stroke
Cardiovascular disease is the major causes of morbidity and mortality in North America. An understanding of the cell biology behind the initiation and progression of these illnesses is the key to finding a cure. We use a combination of modern imaging methods and molecular approaches together with cell culture and animal models in our studies.
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