Friday Seminar: Margrét Helga Ögmundsdóttir
The complex role of autophagy in cancer: Cellular clearance vs stress adaptation
Margrét Helga Ögmundsdóttir, University of Iceland Biomedical Center, Iceland
Katja Pokrovskaja Tamm
Margret Helga Ogmundsdottir is an adjunct lecturer at the University of Iceland. The main focus of her work is on the role of autophagy in cancer, with a special focus on tumor initiation. Autophagy is a degradation process in which cells recycle cytoplasmic material. This pathway maintains cellular homoestasis by preventing accumulation of damaged protein and organelles, but also by enabling cells to cope with stress conditions such as starvation. It is becoming clear that many tumors depend on this mechanism for surviving in a nutrient depleted environment. However, mice that are deficient in key autophagy genes develop liver adenomas, suggesting a preventive role of this pathway in the tumor initiation. Whether this is also the case in humans has remained somewhat unclear. Margret will discuss unpublished data on the role of the key autophagy gene ATG7 in human tumorigenesis.
Margret has recieved a number of awards, including the Motivation Award of the Icelandic Science and Technology Policy Council in 2016.