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Ongoing Projects

A selection of our interests

Food related behavior controlled by neuronal SKN-1.

Deciding when and how much to eat is crucial for maintaining health and to preventing overeating. Our bodies take in complex molecular signals from our nervous, physiological and metabolic systems, which tell us when we're hungry and when to stop eating, but how these signals work are not yet well understood. We recently published work showing that SKN-1B acts in neurons to control satiety, regulate neuro-endocrine pathways and control mitochondrial homeostasis.

The role of RNA Polymerase III in longevity.

Eukaryotic cells have three nuclear RNA polymerases, Pol I, II and III, with distinct subunit composition and biochemical properties, that each transcribe a specific class of genes.  Pol III is responsible for transcribing hundreds of loci to generate a number of short, non-coding transcripts. These are mostly involved in translation, namely the 5S rRNA and transfer RNAs (tRNAs). Together with collaborators at UCL (UK) and University of Groningen (NL) we showed that reducing RNA Pol III levels increases lifespan in worms, yeast and flies.

Transcription Factors that regulate ageing.

Transcription factors control the expression of a wide variety of other genes in the genome. Several transcription factors have been identified as being important for the ageing process. We are particularly interested in two of these are DAF-16 and SKN-1. DAF-16 is the worm homologue of the Mammalian Foxo transcription factor, and SKN-1 the worm homologue of mammalian Nrf. We are interested in how both DAF-16 and SKN-1 act and how they interact with each other. Understanding how these transcription factors act is critical to understanding the ageing process and finding novel ways to intervene in it.

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