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Programmed Cell Death Video Lecture
This one-hour video features Dr. H. Robert Horvitz, who shared the 2002 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, discussing his latest research on programmed cell death (PCD) at the Five College Undergraduate Life Science Research Symposium, held at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, in April 2008. Dr. Horvitz, an HHMI investigator at MIT, provides an overview of what has been learned about PCD, a biological process which appears to be a universal feature of animal development. He notes that abnormalities in programmed cell death have been associated with a broad variety of human diseases, including certain cancers and neurodegenerative disorders. Dr. Horvitz's laboratory has characterized genes (most with human counterparts) that cause cells to die and that protect cells from dying. In this video, Dr. Horvitz explains the steps his lab took to discover the core molecular genetic pathway for PCD in C. elegans, a tiny roundworm made up of 1090 cells. The adult nematode contains only 959 cells, however, because 131 of its cells are programmed to die. The speaker concludes with a brief discussion of how this research might help with the understanding and treatment of diseases such as cancer. The HHMI Five College Undergraduate Research Symposium, an event that began in 2007, showcases interdisciplinary science research at the undergraduate level.
Program Director: Elizabeth Connor, Ph.D.
Award Years: 1992, 1994, 2006
Summary: The University of Massachusetts at Amherst is a public research university in Amherst, Massachusetts. Its HHMI-funded initiatives include:
- Two mentored research programs—Academic Year Research Internships and a Summer Research Internship Program, which give undergraduates the chance to participate in authentic laboratory research in the life sciences, with an emphasis in genomics/ bioinformatics and bioimaging;
- Four new introductory-level courses—Bioimaging, Gene and Genome Analysis, Quantitative Systems Biology and Quantitative Biology of the Cell—that integrate the teaching of biology with physical and quantitative sciences; and
- A new annual HHMI Five College Undergraduate Science Research Symposium, co-hosted with Smith College, which invites undergraduates to present their research at poster sessions and involves them in the planning and organizing of the event.