Luis Alberto Baena

Caspase Functions Beyond Apoptosis

Most scientific research on the evolutionarily conserved family of caspases has traditionally focused on their role as key regulators of apoptotic cell death. However, our group has contributed to challenging this idea by demonstrating that caspases play a critical role in regulating cell proliferation, differentiation, and signalling without causing apoptosis in both physiological and pathological scenarios. Currently, our research efforts are focused on characterising the molecular mechanisms underlying these novel caspase functions.

Our objective is to comprehensively characterize caspase activity and identify the molecular mechanisms regulating it in both physiological and pathological scenarios. To achieve this goal, we utilize various experimental methods, such as cutting-edge genetic engineering technologies, high-resolution imaging, biochemistry, and proteomics. Additionally, we leverage the powerful genetic tools available in Drosophila. Furthermore, our laboratory strives to create suitable platforms for identifying new small molecules that can regulate caspase activity. Ultimately, validating these molecules in mammalian models has the potential to enhance the current range of therapeutic interventions for numerous diseases sustained by caspase activity.

Group members

  • Alberto Baena-Lopez (Group leader)
  • Franz Wendler (Postdoc)
  • Li Wang (PhD student)

Selected Publications

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