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Hungry brains and clever guts

Date: Monday, April 26, 2021 16:00 - 17:00
Speaker: Irene Miguel-Aliaga (Imperial College London)
Location: Online
Series: Institute colloquium
Host: Simon Hippenmeyer
Contact: Arinya Eller

We are interested in the plasticity of adult organs: how and why organs that we commonly regard as fully developed change in size and/or function in response to environmental or internal challenges. We mainly use the Drosophila intestine and its neurons because they allow us to explore organ plasticity from an integrated perspective. We investigate how an organ senses its internal milieu and the environment (e.g. nutrients, microbiota), how its adult progenitors respond by either maintaining or resizing the organ, and how its different cell types (epithelial, muscle, neural) communicate to achieve coordinated, organ-level remodelling. I will present some of our recent work, which has uncovered unexpected sexual dimorphisms, as well as intestinal contributions to food intake and reproductive success. Intriguingly, the intestine’s three-dimensional arrangement within the body cavity may be relevant to how it communicates with other organs. I may also discuss our ongoing attempts to explore how broadly applicable our findings might be using mouse and human models.

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