Adam Hughes
Adam Hughes - PhD
AFAR Research Grants for Junior Faculty - 2015
Adam Hughes

Adam Hughes - PhD

Assistant Professor - University of Utah
Utah, United States


AFAR Research Grants for Junior Faculty - 2015

Dissecting the role of the lysosome in organismal aging

The cells in our body are made up of compartments called organelles, which act to separate different cellular activities. As we age, these organelle structures break down and lose function. Mounting evidence suggests that this functional decline in organelles is linked with the aging process and causes many of the diseases associated with aging, such as Parkinson’s disease.

One such organelle is the lysosome, an acidic organelle that acts as a recycling bin for unwanted or damaged cellular material. The lysosome also stores high levels of nutrients needed for cellular growth, such as amino acids and ions.

Using yeast as a model system, Dr. Hughes’s lab recently found that the functional deterioration of the lysosome in aged cells initiates problems in other cellular compartments and limits lifespan. Specifically, the group uncovered a close metabolic link between mitochondria and lysosomes, and showed that a disruption in this relationship leads to mitochondrial failure in aged cells.

Dr. Hughes and his group are working to understand how the lysosome breaks down with age, how lysosomes and mitochondria are functionally linked, and how the lysosome’s loss of function impairs the activity of other cellular compartments during the aging process. With that knowledge, the group seeks to ultimately develop ways to prevent lysosomes from becoming dysfunctional in aging cells and to enhance mitochondrial function during the aging process, thereby extending lifespan.

View all grantees for AFAR Research Grants for Junior Faculty in 2015

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