O'Rourke, Eyleen Jorgelina
Associate Professor of Biology, Biology
Biochemistry, Bioinformatics and Genomics, Cardiovascular Biology, Cell and Developmental Biology, Computational Biology, Development, Genetics, Metabolism, Molecular Biology, Stem Cells & Regeneration
Obesity and Aging
All the way up to the 20th century, the human genome has been optimized to survive in environments characterized by fluctuations between periods of feast and famine. These survivor-genomes clash with an environment where calorie-rich foods are readily available. Based on the premise that the gene networks that allow animals to endure starvation are under strong selective pressure and consequently conserved, we use a combination of cutting-edge functional genomics, biochemical, cell biology, genetic, physiological and bioinformatics (computational biology) approaches to identify and characterize the conserved gene networks that allow the animal model Caenorhabditis elegans to adapt to changes in food availability. Ultimately, our research would contribute to better understanding how dysfunctional gene networks affect or cause obesity, diabetes, and other age-related diseases.