Discovering principles of senescent pathophysiology using a simple animal model
Prof David Gems
University College London
Many genes that influence lifespan have been identified in the simple animal Caenorhabditis elegans. However, the chain of events between gene function and lifespan, including the processes of ageing itself, remain largely unidentified. My goal is to identify them by studying diseases associated with ageing in nematodes.
I will build on my recent theory that unnecessary continuation of growth-related processes in later life explain the origin of age-related diseases in C. elegans. I shall investigate how pathways that affect lifespan control such late-life growth, how different treatments that extend lifespan act by altering life-limiting diseases, and the extent to which mechanisms involved affect other species.
Ageing is now the main cause of disease worldwide. Understanding its primary causes in C. elegans should reveal basic principles about causes of late-life disease and inform future medical treatments to improve health in later life.