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Biography

Jody Rosenblatt is Professor of Cell Biology in the Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine, School of Basic & Medical Biosciences and School of Cancer & Pharmaceutical Sciences who has recently moved her lab from the Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah. During her PhD at the University of California, San Francisco with Dr Timothy Mitchison, she studied actin filament turnover and as a post-doc at the MRC-LMCB at University College London, she discovered epithelial cell extrusion, a process that eliminates dying cells without forming any gaps. Her lab studies how epithelia maintain constant cell numbers through cell death and cell division and have found that mechanical forces control each process; when cells become too crowded, they extrude some cells that later die and when cells are too sparse stretch activates cells to rapidly divide. Surprisingly, both opposing processes require the same stretch-activated calcium channel, Piezo1, depending on the force encountered. Extrusion is critical for regulating epithelial cell number, as they find that aggressive metastatic cancers and asthma can result from defective extrusion signalling. Understanding the basic cell biology of cell death is now revealing new etiologies for diseases that currently lack treatments. We believe that understanding the roots of disease will better pave the way to finding its cure, rather than merely managing its symptoms.