Grant aims to discover genes and environmental factors that strongly interact to modulate aging patterns
Alaattin Kaya, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Biology, recently received a four-year grant from the National Institutes of Health totaling $512,000. Kaya aims to discover genes and environmental factors that strongly interact to modulate observed aging patterns. He hopes to advance understanding of the biology of aging and the fundamental relationship between genetic variation, metabolism and longevity phenotypes. Kaya's lab will be the only lab in the Department of Biology to work on aging and he is excited to bring this research area to VCU.
More information about the grant:
The question of why some species or individuals within a population live longer than others is among the most important biological problems. With the current knowledge, it is safe to say that interaction between genetic and environmental factors, which influence longevity, varies between and within species. Genetic studies have found that longevity of laboratory animals can be extended by environmental, dietary, pharmacological and genetic interventions. However, laboratory mutants characterized by extended lifespan are often unable to compete in the natural setting, and their ecological fitness in the wild may be questionable. To capture the experiment of nature that modifies the genotype arriving at different lifespans and natural selection interact to shape aging, this research grant proposes to utilize hundreds of ecologically diverse wild yeast isolates with wide diversity of lifespan among them.
Kaya's lab aims to discover genes and environmental factors that strongly interact to modulate the observed aging patterns. Hence advance understanding of the biology of aging and the fundamental relationship between genetic variation, metabolism, and longevity phenotypes may ultimately lead to the identification of pharmacological, genetic and dietary interventions that extend lifespan and delay the onset of age-related diseases in humans.
More information is available on the grant's posting on the NIH Grantome website.