In Pictures

Cell Culture: Enhancing Taxol Productivity to Fight Cancer

The flask in the image above contains cell cultures in the laboratory of UMass Amherst cellular engineer Susan Roberts who is studying cells extracted from the yew tree, known to produce the powerful anti-cancer agent, Taxol. Produced by plants as a defense against predators, Taxol and other secondary metabolites have many beneficial uses. Roberts and her colleagues are developing methods to enhance Taxol productivity in lab cultures to enable a large-scale, sustainable supply. Roberts also directs the interdisciplinary Institute for Cellular Engineering, whose researchers are working to harness the cellular “machinery” in plants, animals, and microorganisms for applications in human health, bioenergy and the environment. Learn more.

Photo credit: Amanda Drane