Welcome to the Slack Laboratory
Healthcare and lifestyle improvements have produced dramatic rises in life expectancy worldwide. While this is a significant achievement, it also means that increasingly more people live long enough to suffer from multiple age-related diseases.
But what if we were to consider such age-related pathologies as symptoms of one common underlying indication, ageing itself? Could we develop therapeutic interventions to alleviate its effects, thereby prolonging health well into old age?
Ageing has long been considered an inevitable consequence of life. However, recent scientific advances have revealed that it has an underlying biological process, influenced by both genetic and environmental factors. Research using laboratory organisms such as worms, flies and mice, has shown that remarkably similar interventions can extend lifespan and delay the adverse effects of ageing across different species. This striking evolutionary conservation indicates that these simple organisms will provide beneficial insights into human ageing.
Our research here in the Cathy Slack Lab aims to understand the molecular and cellular mechanisms that govern how an animal ages using the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, as a model system.
The Hallmarks of Ageing
The nine common denominators of ageing across different organisms including: genomic instability, telomere attrition, epigenetic alterations, loss of proteostasis, deregulated nutrient sensing, mitochondrial dysfunction, cellular senescence, stem cell exhaustion, and altered cell signalling
López-Otin et al. (2013) Cell, 153:1194-1217.