Comparative Biology of Aging

Animal species differ dramatically in their aging rates and susceptibility to age-related diseases. Comparative studies on animals with different maximum lifespans (MLS) can be used to identify the molecular mechanisms that explain this disparity. Studying rodents (phylogenetically related with a 10-fold difference in MLS), bats (exceptional longevity compared to body size), and the bowhead whale (MLS > 200 years) allows us to identify such health- and lifespan-extending mechanisms. This knowledge enables the development of interventions to prevent, delay, or cure age-related diseases in humans.

Genomic Stability & Epigenetics of Aging


We and others have found that Sirtuin 6 (SIRT6) extends mammalian lifespan and promotes healthspan. It does so by maintaining genomic stability through improved efficiency of DNA repair, maintenance of heterochromatin and suppression of transposable elements. We are currently working on regulating SIRT6 as a potential strategy for rejuvenation.


We and collaborators have shown that LINE1s, selfish genetic elements found abundantly in humans, promote age-associated inflammation in cells. We are currently working on silencing LINE1s via genetic or pharmacological approaches will alleviate age-related pathologies.