Dr. Nelson's research is aimed at understanding the genetic and physiological basis for nutritional and pharmacologic interventions that extend rodent longevity. Most recently, his laboratory discovered dramatic genetic variation in the lifespan response to dietary restriction, including a life-shortening effect in some genotypes. These findings provide a new way of identifying the genes and probing the mechanisms whereby dietary restriction and other interventions affect aging. For example, his group found that maintenance not reduction of adiposity was a strong correlate of lifespan extension, whereas reduction in adiposity was a risk factor for life shortening by dietary restriction. His research also focuses on the role of endocrine systems in aging, with a particular focus on the role of hyperadrenocorticism and insulin signaling in the life-extending effect of dietary restriction.
Strong R, Miller RA, Astle CM, Baur JA, de Cabo R, Fernandez E, Guo W, Javors M, Kirkland JL, Nelson JF, Sinclair DA, Teter B, Williams D, Zaveri N, Nadon NL, Harrison DE. (2013) Evaluation of Resveratrol, Green Tea Extract, Curcumin, Oxaloacetic Acid, and Medium-Chain Triglyceride Oil on Life Span of Genetically Heterogeneous Mice. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 68:6-16, 2013.
Liao CY, Johnson TE, Nelson JF. (2013) Genetic variation in responses to dietary restriction - An unbiased tool for hypothesis testing. Exp Gerontol 48:1025-9, 2013.
Nelson JF, Strong R, Bokov A, Diaz V, Ward W. (2012) Probing the Relationship Between insulin Sensitivity and Longevity Using Genetically Modified Mice. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 67:1332-8, 2012 .
Miller RA, Harrison DE, Astle CM, Baur JA, Boyd AR, de Cabo R, Fernandez E, Flurkey K, Javors MA, Nelson JF, Orihuela CJ, Pletcher S, Sharp ZD, Sinclair D, Starnes JW, Wilkinson JE, Nadon NL, Strong R. (2011) Rapamycin, but not resveratrol or simvastatin, extends life span of genetically heterogeneous mice. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 66:191-201. 2011 .