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Diversity, Diabetes and Directing Traffic

Wednesday 13 April 2016, 1.00PM

Speaker(s): Professor Frances Brodsky, Faculty of Life Sciences, University College London


Diabetes is increasing in the UK and worldwide, threatening susceptible populations with serious health and economic issues.  While this disease affects the entire body, an underlying cause is malfunction of a pathway inside muscle and fat cells, which is controlled by the hormone insulin after a meal. This pathway relies on a process known as “membrane traffic” to alter the surface of muscle and fat cells so they can absorb glucose from the blood, where it can be toxic.  The lecture will describe fundamental mechanisms of membrane traffic and how these have evolved, leading to genetic variation between animals, and even among humans, with respect to glucose metabolism pathways and potential for metabolic disease.

Frances Brodsky is Director of the Division of Biosciences and Professor of Cell Biology at University College London, a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and a Wellcome Trust Investigator.  From 1987-2014, she was a Professor at the University of California, San Francisco.  Her research focuses on the cell biology of membrane traffic, human glucose metabolism and immune system function. She received her undergraduate degree from Harvard University and a DPhil in Genetics from Oxford University as a Marshall Scholar. With an interest in science communication, she published three scientific mystery novels under the pen name B.B. Jordan (1997-2001) and was a founding co-editor of the professional journal Traffic in 2000. 

Host: Professor Bob White

Location: P/X/001

Admission: Open