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Daniel Lew is a professor of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology and of Genetics at the Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina. His research program focuses on cell cycle control in yeast, and how the cell cycle interacts with cell polarity.
Yeast cells may look simple, but inside every little single-cell package lurks an intricate creature that senses and responds cunningly to its surroundings. Dr. Lew has uncovered many of the secrets of the tiny yeast, and since yeast bear a striking resemblance to human cells, some of these facts could help us eventually conquer our own problems with the cell cycle, including cancer – a kind of cell division gone wild.
In this interview, I talk with Dr. Lew about how a yeast cell knows when to say “when” during budding, why he studies yeast at a medical school, and where his hard-to-discern accent really comes from (hint: it’s not a North Carolina accent).