Mohanish Deshmukh, PhD

Mohanish Deshmukh, PhD

UNC-Chapel Hill 

7129E Neuroscience Research Building
Campus Box 7545
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7545

Education and Training

St. Xavier's College, BS, 1986
Carnegie Mellon University, PhD, 1994
Washington University, Postdoctoral, 1994-2000

Areas of Interest

We are interested in exploring how cells regulate their survival and death.  How does a cell decide whether to survive and cope, or trigger apoptosis in response to different stimuli?  If the apoptotic pathway is activated, what is its mechanism and how is it regulated?

Cell death by apoptosis occurs extensively during development and is seen in many pathological conditions such as after stroke or in neurodegenerative diseases.  In contrast, the inability of cells to undergo apoptosis is a fundamental hallmark of cancers.  Therefore, understanding the mechanisms by which different cells regulate apoptosis has significant therapeutic implications.

We are particularly interested in identifying the unique ways in which different cells control apoptosis.  For example, we have found that apoptosis is highly restricted in postmitotic cells such as neurons.  An increased restriction of apoptosis is arguably beneficial for the long-term survival of postmitotic cells that have limited regenerative potential and perform critical functions.  Interestingly, while neurons and cancer cells are very different by most criteria, there are striking similarities by which apoptosis is restricted in neurons and cancer cells.  In contrast, embryonic stem cells are primed to undergo rapid apoptosis in response to DNA damage- an ability that permits for the rapid elimination of damaged cells during embryonic development.