Genetics, Stanford University, California, USA
Abstract : Age is the greatest risk factor for most diseases, including neurodegenerative diseases, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, metabolic disorders, diabetes, and autoimmune diseases. However, our understanding of aging is still rudimentary because aging is an extraordinarily complex process that defies many conventional rules in biology. My lab aims to discover new, fundamental principles of aging regulation that can ultimately be translated to humans. We have broken new ground by pioneering the naturally short-lived African killifish as a new model to study aging and diseases in the context of aging in vertebrates. This new model has allowed us to generate a high throughput platform to not only model diseases by also screen for the impact of genetic pathways and chemical compounds on disease. In addition to developing this fish, my lab is also using C. elegans and mice, as well as cells from mice and humans, to identify genetic and epigenetic mechanisms involved in the regulation of lifespan and understand their mode of action. This approach has already generated new insights on the epigenetic regulation of aging. Our work has the promise to transform our understanding of why aging is at the heart of so many human diseases.