The role of autophagy in quiescence of healthy hematopoietic cells


  • Dr Katharina Simon

    University of Oxford

Project summary

Autophagy is the major pathway for degradation of macromolecules in cells. However, the contribution of autophagy to the maintenance of healthy long-lived cells has not been investigated in normal physiological settings. Dr Simon has obtained preliminary data showing that the quiescent status of long-lived cells, such as hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and memory T cells, is autophagy-dependent. Dr Simon has two key aims to address in her work: to determine whether autophagy is required for HSC quiescence and to assess the molecular mechanism regulating this process; and to understand the role of autophagy in memory CD8 T-cell formation. The molecular mediators and mechanisms identified by Dr Simon's work have the potential to highlight new targets for improving regenerative medicine approaches, and could shed light on mechanisms of immune ageing and new avenues for cancer therapy, as well as contributing to improved vaccine development.