Women & Science

Spring Breakfast Forum

Regarding the Resilient Genome How Cells Block Cancer and Age Gracefully

Date: Thursday, March 10, 2011 Place: 1230 York Avenue at 66th Street
Registration & Breakfast Buffet: 7:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m   Caspary Auditorium
Program:  8:00 - 9:00 a.m.   The Rockefeller University
      New York City

How can we understand the push-and-pull between the aging process in our cells and the loss of control that leads to cancer?

The trillions of cells in our bodies are constantly replenished through a tightly controlled process of cell division. When a cell’s genetic material is compromised, however, there is a risk that the cell will divide uncontrollably. This is one way that cancer can begin. Fortunately, cells are equipped with robust monitoring programs to guard against this outcome. When a cell senses DNA damage, it can try to repair its genome. If the damage is irreversible, it can trigger its own death, or enter a placid state called senescence, where it loses the ability to divide.

In fact, senescence is a natural endpoint in the life of a cell. Laboratory studies have shown that there is a strict limit to the number of times that a normal cell can divide. In contrast, cancer cells never stop dividing. From a biologist’s perspective, they are immortal.
Agata Smogorzewska, one of the newest members of the Rockefeller faculty, is exploring the interwoven questions of cancer and aging in her laboratory located in the University’s Collaborative Research Center, the state-of-the-art research facility that opened in the fall of 2010. She has already made critical discoveries through studies of cancer-prone individuals born with a rare disorder called Fanconi anemia. Research on this genetic disease is providing Dr. Smogorzewska and her colleagues with clues to unlocking the mysteries of DNA repair and tumor suppression. Their work may one day contribute to improved treatments for cancer.

Dr. Smogorzewska, a former student in Titia de Lange’s laboratory, received her Ph.D. from The Rockefeller University in 2002 and her M.D. from the Weill Medical College of Cornell University in 2003. She conducted postdoctoral research at Harvard, returning to Rockefeller in 2009 as an assistant professor heading the Laboratory of Genome Maintenance.

To RSVP or for more information, click here or contact Emily Muller at (212) 327-8696
or emuller@rockefeller.edu.

Honorary Chairman

David Rockefeller

Founding Chairmen

Lydia A. Forbes
Isabel P. Furlaud
Nancy M. Kissinger
Sydney R. Shuman

2017 W&S Chairmen

Judith Roth Berkowitz
Debra Black
Rebecca A. John
Denise Kellen
Samantha Boardman Rosen, M.D.
Patricia P. Rosenwald
Lulu C. Wang

2017 W&S Committee

full committee listing

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