Exploring the roles of motile adipocytes in wound repair and cancer

Year of award: 2019


  • Dr Anna Franz

    University College London

Project summary

Fat cells, also called adipocytes, were once believed to merely store our energy and keep us warm. It is now clear that they also play an important role in wound healing and cancer. Our recent study in fruit flies showed that adipocytes, which are commonly presumed to be immobile, are motile cells that migrate towards wounds to enable wound repair and fight infection. 

We will investigate what roles motile adipocytes have in promoting wound healing and in blocking cancer growth. We will follow the behaviour of adipocytes in fruit fly pupae when they respond to wounds or tumours in real time using microscopy. We will combine this with genetic experiments.

Our findings will provide insights into the mechanisms by which adipocytes regulate wound healing and cancer and may help identify possible new therapies for improving wound healing and inhibiting cancer growth.