AFAR Research Grants for Junior Faculty for 2017

Luis Batista

Luis Batista

Assistant Professor, Washington University in St. Louis


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...

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Peter Douglas

Peter Douglas

Assistant Professor, Washington University in St. Louis


Stress-mediated actin phosphorylation in endocytosis and age regulation As humans age, our tissues and organs gradually deteriorate. Aging compromises the integrity of a tissue’s surrounding barrier, which leads to increased leakiness and dysfunction of the respective organs. This theory has been termed the “barrier dysfunction of aging.” Using the intestine of...

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Sergei Doulatov

Sergei Doulatov

Assistant Professor, University of Washington


The role of autophagy in human hematopoietic stem cell aging Blood production is maintained by hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), or blood stem cells. But the regenerative potential of HSCs declines with age, leading to an increased incidence of blood disorders such as myelodysplastic syndromes and leukemias. Dr. Doulatov believes that one of the pathways maintaining...

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Michael Garratt

Michael Garratt

Assistant Professor, University of Michigan


Sensory perception of the social environment: regulation of mouse development, metabolism and aging The social environment can have a major influence on health and aging. In some invertebrates, just the sensory perception of opposite sex pheromones can reduce lifespan, even in the absence of a mate's presence. Dr. Garratt and his team will test...

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Vyacheslav Labunskyy

Vyacheslav Labunskyy

Assistant Professor, Boston University School of Medicine


Endoplasmic Reticulum (ER) stress resistance and longevity The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is a network of membranes found throughout a cell and connected to the nucleus. Stress on the ER has been shown to play an important role in aging and the development of many age-related human diseases, such as diabetes and cancer. Cells adapt to...

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Darcie Moore

Darcie Moore

Assistant Professor, University of Wisconsin, Madison


The molecular mechanisms underlying asymmetric segregation of aging factors in mammalian neural stem cells Stem cells decline with age, contributing to organismal aging. It’s been found that neural stem cells, or stem cells in the brain, rejuvenate themselves during cell division by passing damaged material to just one of their two daughter cells...

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Vittorio Sebastiano

Vittorio Sebastiano

Assistant Professor, Stanford University


Transient reprogramming for efficient cell-autonomous reversal of age-associated phenotypes Dr. Sebastiano is working to develop a system that can lead to the partial or total reversal of aging effects at the cell, tissue, and organ system level. This is known as rejuvenation. Dr. Sebastiano’s approach is based on the technology of induced pluripotent...

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Archana Unnikrishnan

Archana Unnikrishnan

Assistant Professor, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center


Role of DNA methylation in Dietary Restriction mediated insulin sensitivity Dietary restriction has been shown to increase lifespan and delay the onset and progression of most age-related diseases. One consistent observation in mammals is that dietary restriction has a dramatic effect on insulin sensitivity, which plays a role in dietary restriction’s life-extending action. ...

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Rui Xiao

Rui Xiao

Assistant Professor, University of Florida


Cold-Shock Proteins (CSPs) in stress response and lifespan modulation As one of the most fundamental environmental cues, temperature has a profound impact on many aspects of cellular physiology. To deal with ever-fluctuating environmental temperatures, animals have developed evolutionarily conserved heat-shock proteins (HSPs) and cold-shock proteins (CSPs).  Although the important roles of HSPs in stress...

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Amir Zarrinpar

Amir Zarrinpar

Assistant Professor, University of California, San Diego


The relationship of gut luminal dynamics and aging-related circadian dysfunction and dysmetabolism With age, the incidence of insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome increases. These diseases contribute significantly to age-related morbidity and mortality. Of the multiple genetic and environmental factors that are responsible for these metabolic issues (or dysmetabolism), the disruption of circadian rhythms...

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