What determines whether a cell lives or dies? The goal of the Katz laboratory is to selectively control the cell death machinery for therapeutic benefit. Defects in cell death mechanisms serve as primary pathogenic events in major human diseases like cancer and heart disease. In particular, BCL-2 family proteins are vital regulators of mitochondrial integrity and have been implicated in the development, maintenance and chemoresistance of numerous cancers. We employ a multidisciplinary approach to study select pro-apoptotic BCL-2 family proteins.