Investigating the Cellular Program of Senescence in Development, Regeneration and Disease
Cellular senescence is a complex and dynamic cellular program, with multiple functions throughout life. Primarily, senescence is a form of irreversible cell cycle arrest induced inresponse to a variety of stressful stimuli, including aging, DNA-damage and oncogenic stimulation. As such, senescence acts as a tumor suppressive or protective mechanism, to
limit the aberrant proliferation of damaged or potentially oncogenic cells. In addition, senescent cells accumulate chronically during aging, where they actively contribute to the aging process and to age-associated disease pathogenesis. Interestingly, recent advances in the field have identified how the elimination of senescent cells with genetic or pharmacological means, can have beneficial effects in aged and diseased states. However, work from our group and others has identified how transiently-present senescent cells can have beneficial effects in situations including embryonic development, tissue regeneration and reprogramming.
Our lab is interested in further exploring the dynamic cellular program of senescence, its varied biological functions in development and disease, and how it is properly controlled. Here, I will summarize our previous studies describing senescence during normal embryonic development and tissue regeneration. In addition, I will discuss new findings implicating aberrant senescence in developmental birth defects, and investigating how the dynamic cellular program of senescence may contribute to disease and aging.
Team Leader, Research Director