A key goal of my research is to determine the molecular mechanisms used in nature to modulate both species lifespan and healthspan. Using a multidisciplinary mechanistic approach, we specifically examine why some mammals age extremely rapidly, exhibiting pronounced declines in all aspects of their biology, and how other species can maintain physiological function and disease-free good health for a larger proportion of their long-lifespans. Elucidating these mechanisms may lead to therapeutic targets to retard the aging process and delay the onset of age-associated disability and diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease.
I came to Calico from the Barshop Institute for Aging and Longevity Studies. There I was a professor in the Department of Physiology and track leader for the Biology of Aging graduate program. Prior to that, I was a professor in the Department of Biology at The City College of New York, and before that I spent 10 years at the Medical School of the University of Witwatersrand, in South Africa, where I pioneered the use of the naked mole-rat, as a model of exceptional bio-gerontological interest.