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Dr Brendan Curran
With over 25 years of research experience in studying yeast, a model eukaryotic organism, my current research is focused on the molecular physiology of the yeast Heat Shock Response (HSR). Heat stress induces a subset of genes that encode protective proteins whenever living cells are exposed to a sub-lethal temperature shock. In 1994 we demonstrated that lipids play a vital role in how cells detect stress thereby successfully challenging the accepted paradigm that heat directly induced proteins to unfold - the latter then triggering the response. We have published a series of papers since then which demonstrate that lipids are also key players in conferring cross-tolerance between different types of stressing agents. More recently my group has concentrated on the role of Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) in the HSR and we have published a number of papers implicating ROS as central to the cellular HS response mechanism. We have recently shown that lipids protect anaerobically-grown cells from HS-induced ROS thus relating lipids, ROS and the HSR.