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 Autophagy & Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Cancer

Metastasis is the deadliest aspect of human cancer. Metastasis in the multi-step process by which cancer cells escape the confines of the primary site (such as breast, pancreas or other organs) and travel in the circulation to distant sites (such as brain, liver or lungs) where they can lodge, invade and grow out as secondary tumors or metastases.

Many factors play into cancer metastasis including how disseminating tumor cells respond to stresses such as nutrient deprivation and altered cellular attachments. These stresses are known to activate a process known as autophagy and research in the Macleod Lab seeks to understand and clarify the role of autophagy in tumor growth and progression to metastasis. In particular, we are interested in understanding how defects in the turnover of mitochondria (the energy factory of the cell) by autophagy, leads to tumor invasion and metastasis.

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October 2016

Yoshinori Ohsumi wins 2016 Nobel prize in Physiology/Medicine for his pioneering work on the genetics and mechanisms of Autophagy!

Dr. Macleod’s reaction quoted by New York Times.®ion=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=sectionfront&_r=0

September 2016

We publish a new review on “Autophagy and Cancer Metastasis” in Oncogene.

Download it here:

June 2016

June 10th 2016 – Marina Sharifi, Michelle Beaton, Aparajita Hoskote Chourasia, Lauren Drake, Erin Mowers are officially granted their Ph.D. degrees at the annual Divisional Academic Ceremony.

Dr. Kay Macleod is the student selected Faculty Marshall at the annual Divisional Academic Ceremony.

May 2016

Our paper “Autophagy promotes focal adhesion disassembly and cell motility of metastatic tumor cells through the direct interaction of paxillin with LC3” is published on-line in Cell Reports.

Erin successfully defends her Ph.D. thesis! Congrats Erin!

 April 2016

Maya presents her data at AACR in New Orleans.

Lauren successfully defends her Ph.D. thesis! Congrats Lauren!

March 2016

Dr. Macleod presents our work at the Banbury meeting on “Autophagy & Cancer”

 February 2016

Aparajita successfully defends her Ph.D. thesis! Congrats Aparajita!

January 2016

Dr. Macleod gives a talk at the Sanford-Burnham-Prebys Medical Discovery Institute entitled: “Autophagy and mitochondrial dysfunction in tumor progression and metastasis”.

December 2015

Dr. Macleod is quoted in a piece in Nature Methods on how to measure autophagy:

Dr. Macleod gives a talk at the Simon Cancer Center, Indiana University on “Autophagy in Cell Migration and Metastasis”.

November 2015

ANSWER CANCER fund-raising video for the University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center:

October 2015

Dr. Macleod talks to 5th-8th graders at Ashburn Elementary School about Breast Cancer and self-awareness, as part of October being Breast Cancer Awareness month.

Our work gets reported in SCIENCELife!

Dr. Macleod is the Keynote Speaker at a symposium on “Mechanisms of Metastasis” at the Huntsman Cancer Institute, University of Utah.  Her talk was entitled ” Control of Cell Migration and Metastasis by Autophagy”

 September 2015

Dr. Macleod attends the Banbury Center meeting on “Mitochondria and Cancer” at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories.

New publication: “Tumor Suppressor Functions of BNip3 and Mitophagy” Autophagy (2015).

 August 2015

Annual Y-Me Softball tournament at St Christina Fields in Mount Greenwood Park to raise money for breast cancer research ongoing in our lab!

 July 2015

Dr. Macleod presents our research at the Cell symposium on “Multifaceted Mitochondria” in Chicago (July 19-21). Her talk is entitled “BNIP3-dependent mitophagy in liver metabolism and nutrient responses”

“Mitophagy defects arising from BNip3 loss promote tumor progression to metastasis” Chourasia et al. Accepted into press at EMBO Reports.

Dr. Macleod meets with representatives of the Y-Me charity that supports some of her research.

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Michelle Beaton successfully defends her Ph.D. thesis (July 2nd). Congratulations, Michelle!

 April 2015

Dr. Macleod chairs and presents our research at a major symposium on “Autophagy & Cancer” at the Annual Meeting of the AACR in Philadelphia.

March 2015

Two new publications:

“Mitophagy & Cancer” Aparajita H. Chourasia, Michelle L. Boland & Kay F. Macleod. Cancer & Metabolism 3 (4) (2015).

“Measuring autophagy in stressed cells” M.N. Sharifi, E.E. Mowers, L.E. Drake & K. F. Macleod. In “Stress Responses”, Methods in Molecular Biology, vol. 1292, pp129-150, chapter 10 (2015). Ed. Christine E Oslowski. ISBN 978-1-4939-2521-6.  Humana Press, Springer Publishing Group.