Luis Batista
Luis Batista - PhD
AFAR Research Grants for Junior Faculty - 2017
Luis Batista

Luis Batista - PhD

Assistant Professor - Washington University in St. Louis
Missouri, USA


AFAR Research Grants for Junior Faculty - 2017

The impact of progressive telomere shortening on mitochondria function and energy metabolism of human stem cells

Telomeres, found at the ends of our chromosomes, contain long stretches of repetitive DNA sequences that become progressively shorter with age. This has been linked to the fact that every time a cell divides, it cannot replicate the very end of our DNA molecules. So, when a cell reaches a critical telomere length, it becomes unable to divide and may die. Telomere shortening is  correlated with loss of tissue function, and has been associated with degenerative aging in humans.


Dr. Batista has been studying the consequences of such telomere loss in cells. His preliminary data shows that telomere loss alters the functioning of mitochondria—organelles responsible for energy production—in pluripotent stem cells (stem cells that are capable of differentiating into many other cell types). Importantly, mitochondrial decline is a hallmark of human aging, being associated with several age-related diseases. Dr. Batista and his team hypothesize that cellular failure in aged tissues might be influenced by mitochondrial decline due to telomere shortening.


Dr. Batista is working to decipher the molecular regulation behind this telomere shortening-induced mitochondrial decline, as well as its consequences for human stem cell function. His findings will significantly increase the current knowledge on the mechanisms leading to tissue dysfunction in the elderly.

View all grantees for AFAR Research Grants for Junior Faculty in 2017

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