Research

The Ghazi Lab – Molecular Genetics of Aging

 The Ghazi Lab – Molecular Genetics of Aging

Overview

 Ghazi Lab Team
Arjumand Ghazi and members of her lab team.
 With a lifespan of only three weeks, C. elegans, helps the Ghazi Lab understand the genetics of aging.
Newborn to Elderly – With a lifespan of only three weeks, C. elegans, helps the Ghazi Lab understand the genetics of aging. Click to view larger image.

Aging is a universal phenomenon associated with many functional disabilities and the susceptibility to diseases such as cancers, neurodegenerative diseases and diabetes. With a rapidly aging global population, this is a public health issue of tremendous significance. Research on aging is helping us to understand the mechanisms that underlie age-related diseases and may be the least expensive path to targeting, simultaneously, multiple age-associated ailments.

Relatively recent discoveries have shown that aging is not just the result of accumulated, stochastic cellular damage brought on by the travails of living. Instead, it is a highly regulated process that is controlled by genes that appear to be conserved – from worms to humans – in their ability to alter lifespan. Aging is a fascinating biological process, and in our lab we study genes that influence organismal lifespan. We attempt to identify genes that affect aging and then study them in detail to understand the molecular mechanisms that determine longevity. We especially focus on genes and pathways that extend lifespan and promote healthy aging.

Our primary research tool is the small nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans), a well-known model organism in which the genes that influence longevity were first discovered. It is particularly suitable for our research as it has a short lifespan of about three weeks and it displays many of the anatomical and functional deteriorations that accompany human aging in easily assayable manners.

To the right, the scanning electron microscopy images of C. elegans reveal changes brought on due to "old age." Many of these changes also are seen in human aging, including cuticular wrinkling and an inability to combat stress. In addition, the availability of a number of molecular and genomic tools makes the genetic analysis of longevity exceptionally accessible to worm researchers.


Last Update
January 14, 2012
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Last Update
January 14, 2012
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