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Announcement of RoAR/CFAR Pilot Grants

Dirk Bohmann, Department of Biomedical Genetics

"Epigenetic Age and Precision Medicine"

bohmannThe precise regulation of genes that protect cells and organism from oxidative and cytotoxic stress is critical for maintaining health and homeostasis. In older adults the transcriptional activation of such genes can become inefficient which may promote morbidity and mortality. By assessing the transcriptional response to oxidative stress in human peripheral blood monocytes using mRNA measurements we will investigate (1) whether this response becomes inefficient with increasing age of the subject, (2) whether there is a correlation of the effectiveness of transcriptional stress responses with general measures of fitness and frailty, and (3) whether the thus measured “transcriptional fitness” might be predictive of how well geriatric cancer patients can tolerate chemotherapy. The ultimate goal is to develop a simple blood test that can be used to identify ideal chemotherapy treatment conditions.

Dragony Fu, Department of Biology

"Elucidating the role of ALKBH7-dependent necrosis in response to stress and aging"

Dragony FuAging represents a major risk factor for myocardial infarction caused by ischemia-reperfusion and other age-associated stressors. However, the cellular processes that contribute to cardiac tissue health remain undefined, thus precluding any possible strategies to counteract cardiac tissue damage after stress. Our studies are aimed at elucidating the novel role for a mitochondrial dioxygenase protein in cardiac cell metabolism and stress-survival. Through the analysis of genetic mouse models, we will investigate the cellular mechanisms that modulate heart tissue viability and decline as well as recovery after cardiac ischemia reperfusion. The discoveries in this proposal will provide a foundation for understanding the molecular pathways regulating cardiac tissue physiology in response to aging and stress.

News Articles

Naked Mole Rat Study Nets N.Y. Researcher $9.5 Million
The naked mole rat might not be known for its good looks, but this tiny rodent has turned into a cash cow for researchers. "We hope to come out with strategies to delay human aging," said Vera Gorbunova, who has been on the UR faculty since 2004.

The Inner Beauty of the Naked Mole Rats

Naked mole rat may be ugly, but it could hold secret to longevity, LA Times

A homely rodent may hold cancer-fighting clues, NY Times

Interview with Vera Gorbunova on Rochester morning news