Aging & Metabolism Research Program, MS 21
Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation
825 N.E. 13th Street
Oklahoma City, OK 73104
Phone: (405) 271-7767 or (405) 271-7760
Fax: (405) 271-1437
Ph.D., Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley, CA, 2002
M.S., Kinesiology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, 1998
B.S., Kinesiology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, 1995
It is projected that by 2035, the number of people in the US over the age of 65 years old will be greater than the number of people below 18 years old. This projection illustrates the massive shift in the United States to an aged population. With the aging population comes challenges because of the increase costs and burdens of the diseases that accumulate with age. In our lab, we study the aging process in order to understand how to make people age slower. Our goal is not to make it possible to live 150 years, but rather to extend the period spent free of disease. In other words, rather than increase the lifespan, we aim to increase the healthspan. Of particular interest to our lab is how to maintain muscle, which is important for maintaining independence and a healthy metabolism.
In our laboratory we use models that live longer than they should, to understand what gives rise to increased healthspan. We focus on how to maintain proteins in a “young” state so that cells and tissues can continue to function normally and absent of disease. Of particular interest are mitochondria since these cellular organelles seem to be central to the aging process. Our research seeks to determine if we can maintain the quality of proteins in mitochondria to maintain overall health. In a tissue like muscle, it is our hope that maintaining mitochondria will help preserve muscle function with age. Importantly, it is always our goal to take what we learn in our laboratory experiments and translate them into human treatments that improve human healthspan.