The Russell lab focuses on discovering the mechanisms underlying autophagy regulation in normal and pathological tissues. The autophagy pathway is the primary catabolic process in the cell, maintaining the integrity of organelles and the proteome. Additionally, autophagy promotes survival in response to depletion of cellular nutrients, DNA damage and hypoxia (low oxygen). Dysregulation of autophagy has been observed in several diseases including; cancer, Crohn’s disease and neurodegeneration.
Current Research Focuses
Post-translational control of the autophagy pathway
The Russell lab is working on discovering new signalling pathways capable of regulating the autophagy pathway in response to cellular stress. Pathway discovery is validated in vivo using model organisms.
Autophagy in disease
Dysregulation of autophagy pathway has been described in several human malignancies including cancer, cardiomyopathy, neurodegeneration, and Crohn's disease. However, in most cases the mechanisms underlying the changes to the autophagy pathway remain poorly understood. We are currently taking our discoveries of the signalling pathways regulating autophagy into the relevant disease models.