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Dissecting Molecular Mechanisms of the Aging Process

What determines how we age? What defines how long we will live? Is this a clock that is set from birth? How can we tinker with this clock? These are the questions we seek to address in the lab.

The ultimate goal of our work is to increase the healthy, reproductive years of individuals; redefining and prolonging healthy middle age.

Our Research

We use the nematode C. elegans as our system to study the aging process. Worms have a short, reproducible life span and provide an excellent system for these studies. Similar to mammals, worms have many signaling pathways that modulate lifespan, metabolism, stress and development. Using this simple system, we can begin to dissect the complex networks that regulate these processes.

Specific Interests

  1. In C. elegans, the insulin/IGF-1 signaling pathway plays a central role in regulating lifespan, fat storage, stress and development. What are all the genes involved? How is each specific phenotype modulated? Are they modulated together?
  2. How do multiple conserved signaling pathways couple to the insulin/IGF-1 pathway to regulate lifespan? Fat storage? Stress? Development?
  3. How does the forkhead transcription factor DAF-16 function as a central mediator in C. elegans?


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