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Biologists named a newly discovered cell repair pathway after Pitt

a blue, green and red illustration

Just like a city, the cells in our body recycle waste — and earlier this month, a Pitt team for the first time showed how cells repair this system when it breaks down. Along the way, they snuck a nod to the University in one of the world’s most prestigious scientific journals.

The PITT pathway, so named in a paper published earlier this month in Nature by Assistant Professor Jay Xiaojun Tan and Professor Toren Finkel in the School of Medicine, repairs damage to the cell lysosomes, which break down molecular waste. In this case, PITT stands for “phosphoinositide-initiated membrane tethering and lipid transport” — but it’s also a reference to the university, according to Tan.

Understanding how the cell repairs this important system may provide new insights into aging and diseases like Alzheimer’s, since lysosome damage is related to both, the researchers say.

Read more about the PITT pathway.