The Leiser lab is interested in the biology of aging. We focus on the molecular processes that cause young, healthy organisms to become older, frailer organisms with increased risk of disease and mortality. This research strategy allows us not only to answer questions about why organisms age, but also to study and alter many diseases at once, instead of focusing on just one disease at a time. Additionally, with a rapidly aging population, the promise of aging research to improve the health of millions of people has led to a continual increase in interest and funding of this research.
The primary research interest of the lab is the study of stress response pathways and their relationship to aging and disease. Stress response pathways are important for maintaining homeostasis in the face of many environmental and internal perturbations. Activation of these pathways frequently correlates with improved health and longevity, and we focus on the discovery of the individual genes, proteins, and molecular mechanisms that lead to these effects. In order to better understand these systems and how they relate to human health, the we use a translational framework to initially study a lower organism (C. elegans) and later translate findings into mammalian systems. This strategy allows for the use of multiple scientific disciplines and to provide opportunities for extensive scientific training of undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral scientists.