University of California, San Diego (UCSD)

Mapping the Redox Biology of Aging

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My laboratory focuses on the biology of mammalian aging, with an emphasis of how changes in metabolism and free radical biology contribute to aging in the brain. These include studies on how the free radical biology of the brain during aging may make patients vulnerable to cognitive decline, delirium, and even falls and injury. If these studies in animal models are as predictive of the human condition as we expect, some very specific treatments for patients will come out of this work. Our work on MRI and PET compounds to probe the role of free radicals in animal models of disease, and we believe eventually humans, is a new area of research that has nearly-unlimited potential.

As the population ages, more and more individuals will be living with chronic and frequently debilitating conditions such as diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s. It has been suggested that if the basic aging process itself could be slowed by as little as 5-10%, this would dramatically impact the health of older adults and significantly decrease the number of individuals with disease and disability. Thus, research aimed at understanding the basic biology of aging in humans and in mammalian aging models, such as laboratory mice, might lead to dramatic benefits to the aging population.