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Ep. 42: Neuronal Apoptosis- The Cautious and the Willing with Dr. Mohanish Deshmukh and Connor Wander

The Straight from a Scientist Podcast

Release Date: 02/10/2019

This episode is all about neuronal apoptosis.  In Dr. Mohanish Deshmukh's eyes, some cells are willing to undergo apoptosis, while others are very cautious.  Understanding these differences could be the key to understanding, treating, or curing diseases that haunt us in modern times.  Research in Dr. Deshmukh’s lab at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, focuses on pathways for neuronal apoptosis and the ways that survival and death work in different cells.

Apoptosis is programmed cell death.  In apoptosis, cells commit "suicide" quietly to minimize inflammation and damage to their neighbors.  Apoptosis is a normal and vital process which helps protect us from cancer and other disease states.  However, it becomes a problem in neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and ALS.  When it comes to apoptosis, neurons are special.  Neuronal apoptosis seems to be distinct from other cell types.

Listen in to hear how neurons resist triggers that would kill other cells.  Also learn about the difference between apoptosis and necrosis, as well as how that understanding has changed over time.  We discuss the importance of synaptic pruning.  Finally, we speculate some on the possible presence and effect of bacteria in the brain.

About Dr. Deshmukh

Dr. Mohanish Deshmukh is a Professor of Cell Biology & Physiology and the Neuroscience Center at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. 

Visit the Deshmukh Lab website to learn more about current research.

Also follow the Deshmukh Lab on Instagram.

More Information

To get a background of apoptosis in other cells, check out Episode 23: The Role of Apoptosis with Georgia Smith.  She tells us about apoptosis in the context of influenza.


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