Basic Biology: The Body’s Barrier Cells
with Michael Caplan
Offered in partnership with Math for America
Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Epithelial cells form the barriers that protect us against the hazards of the outside world, including dirt, microbes, and other environmental dangers. The skin is composed of epithelial cells, as are the linings of the respiratory system, the urinary tract, the digestive tract, etc. These cells are also responsible for importing nutrients and exporting metabolic wastes. In order to perform such complex functions, epithelial cells organize themselves into wondrous and elegant structures. This master class will explore the connection between the remarkable architecture of epithelial cells and human health and disease.

Michael Caplan is the C.N.H. Long Professor and Chair of the Department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology at the Yale University School of Medicine. He has been recognized by numerous awards for his teaching, mentorship and research. His laboratory focuses on understanding the ways in which epithelial cells communicate with one another to generate and maintain their unique structures. His group also studies Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease, a prevalent and serious genetic disorder that distorts the normal architecture of renal epithelial cells and that is a major cause of kidney failure. The Caplan laboratory is working to understand the mechanisms responsible for this condition and to identify targets for new therapies.