Tissues in multi-cellular organisms maintain a state of equilibrium (homeostasis) through a delicate balance between controlled cell growth and programmed cell death (apoptosis). Programmed cell death is required to remove superfluous, damaged or harmful cells. Uncontrolled cell growth can lead to cancer, autoimmune disorders and neurodegenerative diseases. The BCL-2 family of proteins tightly regulates the cell death process. Dr. Marc Germain is investigating their role in cell death. One of these proteins, Mcl-1, prevents cell death and also seems to have a role in controlling cell division. Dr. Germain is examining how different forms of this protein control the body’s equilibrium, which could improve understanding of how cancer develops and potentially lead to new anti-cancer drugs.