Kurant Estee - Assistant Professor
Main Research Area
We study molecular and cellular mechanisms of phagocytosis, in particular the phagocytosis of apoptotic cells. Inefficient or defective removal of apoptotic cells during development and in the adult can lead to inflammation, autoimmune diseases, and cancer. Given that in vertebrates phagocytosis is a complex and highly redundant process, we are using the Drosophila model, which permits comprehensive in vivo studies and provides a complement to medical and applied approaches in the field. We focus on identifying and characterizing the molecules involved in different steps of phagocytosis process as recognition, engulfment and degradation and interactions between them. We are also interested in translating this basic knowledge to applications in the diagnostics and therapy of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.