wmair [at] hsph.harvard.edu
Aging is a universal trait that is observed across the evolutionary spectrum. From a public health perspective, aging is also the critical risk factor for a variety of human pathologies, including neurodegenerative diseases, many forms of cancer and metabolic disease. Our lab is interested in understanding the molecular pathways underpinning the aging process, with the goal of using this knowledge to develop novel therapeutic strategies to treat age-onset disorders.
In particular, we study the mechanisms by which animals can modulate the rate at which they age in response to changes in nutrition and the environment. The profound ability to slow aging when energy availability is low is seen in organisms ranging from yeast to primates and is coupled to a striking protection against a suite of age-related pathologies. By elucidating the genetic and molecular pathways that dictate this response, we aim to recapitulate the positive effects of dietary restriction on lifespan and health without the need for changes in dietary intake and its associated detrimental side effects.