Molecular Gerontology Laboratory
Ageing is universal in multicellular organisms. How ageing and lifespan can be modulated is an area of significant scientific interest. By reducing complexity and time scale, the study of simple organisms has provided a wealth of information about the biochemical systems that contribute to the ageing process. The nematode, Caenorhabditis elegans has numerous advantages for the study of the biology of ageing.
These nematodes are microscopic (~1 mm), self-fertilizing, free living, and easily cultured in the laboratory. Benefits of this model system include: a short three-day life cycle, 14-day natural lifespan, highly developed genetic tools, fully characterised cell lineage, and an open research community. Despite its simplicity, conservation of genetic and disease pathways between C. elegans and higher eukaryotes make it an effective in vivo model for study ageing and disease pathogenesis and the preeminent model system for genetic manipulation of ageing.
Work using this model first demonstrated that single genes and compounds could dramatically modulate life span and the rate of ageing.
A glimpse at our researchRapid animal models of Parkinson’s diseaseNew animal models of Alzheimer’s diseaseIron and Biological AgeingSupport Cells and Dopaminergic Neurons
Scientists in the Neurodegeneration division interrogate how neurones live, die and can be rescued to improve brain function in degenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s and Motor Neuron Diseases. There is no effective treatment for Motor Neurone Disease and the incidence of Parkinson’s Disease is rising alarmingly in our aging community. Gene abnormalities, energy deprivation, toxic rubbish accumulation and inflammation all contribute to a toxic environment for brain cells. Our teams study these events in animal models and cultured cells, with a view to translating knowledge into new therapies for human patients.