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The cell: a living computer in a droplet of water

Sunday 24 March: 1:15pm - 2:00pm

Cancer Research UK, Cambridge Institute, Li Ka Shing Centre Robinsons Way, CB2 0RE

Imagine to be in front of a traffic light, you are about to cross and the green light starts to blink. Do you cross? Do you always stop, or does your choice depend on how late/early you are for an appointment? Does this depend on your age, the younger you are, the faster you can cross, or the more likely you are to take risks?

Right from brainless bugs such as bacteria and yeasts, to each of the three trillion cells making up our bodies, each cell continually takes critical decisions about proliferation, migrations, metabolisms and cell behaviour. However, once in a while, genetic mutations occur. Like typos that change the meaning of a sentence in a book, these errors change how cells decide leading to uncontrolled growth.

Although cells have mechanisms to correct these errors or to avoid the consequences that these errors may lead to, rarely, wrong decisions are made and perpetuated… and cancer is triggered. Dr Alessandro Esposito, MRC Cancer Unit, explores how the cell, a tiny droplet of water, takes decision to support life and how scientists probe the ‘brain of the cell’ to understand cellular decisions in physiological and pathological conditions.

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01223 766766

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Age: 11+, Talk, Arrive on time, Free