Andrew M. Pickering, PhD
|2007||BA||Biological Sciences||Oxford University
Oxford, England, UK
|2012||PhD||Molecular Biology||University of Southern California
Los Angeles, CA
The goal of my laboratory is to identify novel factors and pathways that regulate aging or age associated diseases. In this work we make use of two model systems. The first is a cross-species cell culture model. The second is genetic manipulation of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster.
We make use of a cross-species model as there is extraordinary variation in lifespan amongst the animal kingdom. Some species will only live a few months or years while other species will live many decades. A few species can even live multiple centuries.
This variation in lifespan is the product of different evolutionary pressures in different species. For instance species with few predators, a long development time and few offspring are under greater pressure to evolve strategies to slow aging rates than species with many predators, many offspring and short development times.
My lab is interested in investigating factors that are enriched in species under selection for a longer lifespan. We consider this a powerful screening tool to identify factors which may be important regulators of aging. This approach has the advantage of enabling an evaluation of many factors relatively quickly without the time and cost constraints to lifespan analysis in transgenic animals.
A second area of research in my lab makes use of is the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. This animal has powerful genetic tools which allow us to directly test whether augmentation or depletion of the factors we found to be interesting in our cross species model can slow progression of aging or age associate diseases.