lnvestigating SIRT3 Lifespan Enhancement and Mitochondrial Deacetylation in Yeast
My research focuses on an often-damaging molecular alteration known as “acylation” which happens to our proteins, and on the sirtuin genes which reverse and repair that alteration. In particular, I study SIRT3 and SIRT5, which reverse sub-types of acylation on the proteins in our mitochondria, helping organs like our brain and liver continue functioning efficiently as we age. I use a variety of model systems including yeast and mice to generate large, complicated datasets describing how many of our proteins are affected by acylation –“maps” of damage, if you will –and then analyze these maps with computer software to understand how, and why, these molecular processes are altering our health. As hundreds of unique proteins are affected by acylation, determining which are the most important for our health is a major challenge in current research. Finding the best targets to pursue will help guide the discovery of therapies which keep our mitochondria and the cells which depend on them functioning better, helping to prevent or treat diseases like cancer, dementia, and diabetes.