Aging, long thought to be solely the byproduct of wear and tear, is in fact a highly plastic process regulated by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Our lab is interested in discovering genes that regulate lifespan and in exploring how the products of these genes integrate environmental stimuli that promote longevity.
The first part of our research program is focused ounderstanding how conserved 'pro-longevity genes', such as FOXO transcription factors, act to regulate longevity in mammals. We are particularly interested in the action of longevity genes in stem cells, as these cells have regenerative potential. The tissue that we are focusing on is the nervous system.
Our lab also uses unbiased approaches in the nematode C. elegans and in mammalian cells to identify novel pathways that control organismal longevity, particularly in response to dietary restriction. We are interested in the importance of epigenetic regulators that affect chromatin state for the regulation of longevity by the environment.
Finally, we are developing the extremely short-lived African killifish N. furzeri as a new vertebrate model for aging. We are interested in using this model system to explore the genetic architecture of longevity in vertebrates.