Thursday, October 16, 2014

October Science Cafe: Dr. Vera Gorbunova (UofR): “Aging research: The search for the fountain of youth”

On October 28, the Rochester Science Cafe is extremely pleased to present:

 “Aging research: The search for the fountain of youth”
 Dr. Vera Gorbunova, Ph.D.
Professor of Biology
University of Rochester
Everybody wants to live a long and healthy life. Understanding the molecular mechanisms of longevity is of utmost importance because if we learn how to slow down aging we will be able to delay the onset of multiple age-related diseases. Cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer disease are all the symptoms of aging; by delaying aging it will be possible to prevent or delay all of them by treating the cause rather than a symptom. Animal species differ dramatically in their longevity and resistance to cancer. For example, mice live 3 years and often develop tumors while similarly sized naked mole rats live over 30 years and are virtually cancer proof. Our goal is to identify mechanisms that allow such exceptionally long-lived animals to live long and healthy lives and then use these mechanisms to benefit human health. I will describe one success story in which we identified a single molecule in the longest-lived rodent the naked mole rat, which is responsible for remarkable cancer resistance of this species, and could be applied to benefit human health.​
As always, Cafes will be at 7pm in the Community room of the Pittsford Plaza Barnes and Noble.

For those who are interested, here is a writeup in the NY Times of her work with her lab on naked mole rats and aging, and also a description of the $9.5 million award her lab recently recieved to study longevity.

Future cafe topics and speakers:
  • November 25: “Influential Passengers: Bacterial Symbionts That Manipulate Their Hosts”
    Dr. John (Jack) Werren, Ph.D.
    Nathaniel & Helen Wisch Professor of Biology
    University of Rochester 

  • January 27: "Conversing with computers to improve social skills"
    Dr. M. Ehsan Hoque, Ph.D.
    Assistant Professor
    Department of Computer Science
    University of Rochester