Award Recipient 
Canderel Studentship 2016

Apoptotic Morphogenesis of the Urogenital System

September 2016

My research project focuses on investigating the synonymous cellular behavior and mechanism both in embryonic development and tumor progression of cancer cells. Apoptosis, the programmed cell death, has been demonstrated its regulation importance as one of the key cellular events both in cancer propagation and organismal development. More specifically, we study for the elimination of common nephric duct (CND) during the urogenital system maturation process, which requires a tight regulation of apoptosis to result in normal ureter-bladder connection. Recently, intriguing observations were made that identified epithelial-cell phagocytosis as the main apoptotic cell clearance machinery in the CND system. This cell clearance machinery is probably the first example known so far that its role is absolutely necessary for tissue morphogenesis during development. We also speculate that this epithelial-cell phagocytosis mechanism may enhance surrounding cell survival because there is evidence in the literature that apoptotic cells can send signals to neighboring cells to promote cell growth in tumor. We believe that by using our embryonic mouse CND model to investigate epithelial cell phagocytosis both mechanistically and molecularly, we can gain insight into the role of apoptosis, and more importantly, how it may regulate tissue morphogenesis and enhance surrounding cell survival.

You Chi (Emily) Tang
Department of Biochemistry, McGill University
MSc Student, Laboratory of Dr. Maxime Bouchard