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Regulation of apoptosis-induced cell proliferation in tissue homeostasis

Principal Supervisor: Dr Yun Fan, School of Biosciences

Co-supervisor: Dr Neil Hotchin, School of Biosciences

PhD project title: Regulation of apoptosis-induced cell proliferation in tissue homeostasis

University of Registration:University of Birmingham

Project outline:

Apoptosis, a major form of programmed cell death, is frequently activated in response to stresses to remove damaged cells in multi-cellular organisms. It is therefore the guardian of health. However, it has long been a mystery how tissue recovers after damaged cells are removed. Work by us and others has revealed that apoptotic cells can actively promote compensatory proliferation of their neighbouring cells to maintain tissue homeostasis, a process termed Apoptosis-induced Proliferation (AiP). Recent studies in several organisms including Drosophila and mammals have revealed that AiP plays critical roles in tissue recovery and regeneration and, in pathological conditions, uncontrolled AiP can lead to excessive tissue growth. But there is not much known about regulation of AiP at the cellular and molecular level. This PhD project is designed to further dissect the molecular anatomy of AiP. By using Drosophila as a model organism, combined approaches including genetic screening, immunohistochemistry, molecular biology, proteomics and quantitative data analysis will be employed to systematically identify and characterise novel regulators of AiP. As AiP is evolutionary conserved, this project will make substantial contributions to our understanding of the cellular strategies and the genetic pathways used to maintain tissue homeostasis and promote tissue repair.


  • Li M., Lindblad J.L., Perez E., Bergmann A. and Fan Y. (2016). Autophagy-independent function of Atg1 for apoptosis-induced compensatory proliferation. BMC Biol. 14: 70.

  • Fogarty C.E., Diwanji N., Lindblad J.L., Tare M., Amcheslavsky A., Makhijani K., Br├╝ckner K., Fan Y. and Bergmann A. (2016). Extracellular Reactive Oxygen Species Drive Apoptosis-Induced Proliferation via Drosophila Macrophages. Curr Biol 26(5): 575-584.

BBSRC Strategic Research Priority: Molecules, Cells and Systems

Techniques that will be undertaken during the project:

  • Drosophila genetics
  • Epistasis analysis
  • Statistics
  • Molecular cloning
  • Sequencing
  • qRT-PCR
  • Western blots
  • In vitro caspase cleavage assays
  • Mass spectrometry
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • High-resolution microscopy

 Contact: Dr Yun Fan, School of Biosciences