University of Cambridge > > Department of Biochemistry, Cambridge Science Festival Talks (2021) > Signalling between cells: an ancient or a modern phenomenon?

Signalling between cells: an ancient or a modern phenomenon?

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All living things are continuously exposed to signals in many forms, and in order to survive they must be able to sense and respond appropriately, be they single cells or part of a large organism. To do this, cells need the ability to detect the presence of extracellular messenger molecules, and then be able to instigate a suitable response.

Messages can be in a range of forms and a staggering variability of sizes, from a megadalton macromolecule to a single photon of light. In this talk, Professor Sarah Lummis from the Department of Biochemistry will consider two of these messenger molecules and will explore how their roles may have evolved into what they do in cells today. Sarah will describe how our knowledge of the biochemical pathways, and structures of important proteins in these pathways, has allowed us to develop an understanding of the mechanism of action of some of the most widely-prescribed therapeutic agents, such as Viagra and Valium.

The talk will be followed by a Q&A session.

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Sarah Lummis is Professor of Molecular Neurobiology in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Cambridge where her major research area is cell signalling, with a particular interest in Cys-loop receptors. Sarah is also a Professorial Fellow and Director of Studies in Natural Sciences at King’s College, Cambridge.

This talk is part of the Department of Biochemistry, Cambridge Science Festival Talks (2021) series.

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