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Communication between cells is fundamental to almost every event in the life of multicellular organisms. Cell-cell signaling plays a critical role in both developing embryos and in adults. The Hedgehog pathway is highly conserved in metazoans and has essential roles in many developmental processes. In adult tissues, Hedgehog signaling is required for stem cell maintenance while increased Hedgehog signaling is deeply implicated in human cancer. The Salic Lab are using biochemistry, cell and chemical biology to elucidate how vertebrate cells send and respond to Hedgehog signals. Two key aspects they are currently investigating are the activation of the secreted Hedgehog protein and the regulated proteolysis of Gli, the transcriptional effector of the Hedghog pathway. They also develop and apply new chemical and optical technology within the area of cell-cell signaling and cell cycle.
Professor, Cell Biology, Harvard Medical School