Welcome to the Samuelson Lab
Research in the Samuelson laboratory focuses on the genetic and molecular mechanisms that regulate aging and age-associated disease. The Samuelson laboratory is especially interested in understanding why aging organisms increasingly lose the cellular ability to maintain proper function and folding of the proteome (proteostasis).
The small soil nematode Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) has been instrumental in discovering genes and elucidating pathways that alter aging and proteostasis. Many components of the proteostatic network and the signal transduction pathways that regulate proteostasis are evolutionarily conserved. Furthermore, C. elegans has reduced complexity and redundancy relative to vertebrate systems, making it more amenable to genetic analysis and gene discovery. The Samuelson laboratory primarily uses C. elegans as model system to study proteostasis because of its many experimental advantages: powerful genetic and functional genomic approaches are easily applied, animals have a short life cycle and lifespan, C. elegans possess a compact and well-annotated genome, there are wide assortment of genetic mutants available, tissue-specific changes in proteostasis are easily visualized using well characterized fluorescent reporters, there are established neurodegenerative disease models, and age associated changes proteostasis can be studied in the context of an intact multicellular organism, which allows analysis of both cell intrinsic and cell non-autonomous regulation of proteostasis.
To begin to unravel the genetic complexities of proteostasis, we previously conducted the first comprehensive functional genomic study in C. elegans to discover genes that normally function to delay the onset of aging. Towards this end we identified 103 progeric genes (the progeric gene panel (PGP)), which are required for the extension of longevity induced by decreased insulin/IGF signaling (Samuelson et al. 2007 Genes and Development). We completed an extensive analysis of the PGP in the context of many phenotypes related to aging, particularly proteostatic decline, from which several areas of focus within the Samuelson laboratory have emerged.
Interested in joining the Samuelson lab? Inquiries into post-doc positions, graduate student rotations, or joining as a technician are welcome! For more information please contact Dr. Samuelson.