Beth Levine, M.D., Professor of Internal Medicine and Microbiology, and her team explore how fasting activates a cellular process called autophagy, in which cells devour their own damaged or unneeded components. Her laboratory identified the first known gene in mammals that is responsible for autophagy and has since shown that defects in the expression or function of the gene, called beclin 1, may contribute to cancer, aging, neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, and infectious diseases. Dr. Levine discusses her work during the President’s Lecture on April 28, 2011.

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