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Inaugural Professorial Lecture - Professor Julia Horsfield
By University of Otago

The circle of life: understanding development from connections in biology

Julia’s current research originates from her fascination with how cells ‘decide’ what they are going to be in a growing, developing embryo. At the University of Otago, Julia started working on Cohesin, a protein that connects cell division with cell fate decisions. Cohesin controls chromosome segregation during cell division, and it also organises the DNA of non-dividing cells to select genes for expression. Using zebrafish, Julia’s group determined how mutation of Cohesin contributes to human developmental disorders, the "Cohesinopathies". Her group also studies how genes first come to be switched on in the embryo by Cohesin-mediated chromatin structure. She was the first to show that mutations in Cohesin may be linked with leukaemia; a finding later confirmed by cancer genome sequencing projects. Her recent work focuses on the mechanism of Cohesin’s contribution to leukaemia, including the sensitivity of Cohesin-mutant cancers to specific drugs.

Refreshments will be served after the lecture

30 March
5:30pm - 7:30pm
Castle 1 Lecture Theatre, University of Otago
362 Leith Street
Dunedin, Otago New Zealand
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