Mitochondrial Protein Degradation in Health and Longevity

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We are interested in understanding the molecular and cell biology that underlies aging. To do this, we use fruit fly as a model organism. A current idea for what drives aging is that organisms are unable to maintain function due to a buildup of damaged biomolecules (like proteins). Mitochondria are particularly important organelles for aging--we think mitochondria are the source of free radicals that cause damage that results in aging, and mitochondria are also the organelle that is expected to be most affected by free radical damage.

Our lab is interested in investigating the role that mitochondrial protein damage plays in aging. Recently, we found that some flies that are healthier and live longer have more robust mitochondrial protein degradation. We don't yet know if this is something that is common to all healthier/longer lived flies. To answer this question, we plan on generating multiple sets of flies that are healthier and live longer using published protocols, and then test their ability to express mitochondrial proteases and degrade damaged proteins in mitochondria. This will show whether mitochondrial protein degradation is a necessary component for health and longevity.  On the flip side, we have transgenic flies that can be used to overexpress genes we think might be involved in mitochondrial protein degradation.  Using these flies to overexpress these genes and measuring parameters related to health, including longevity will show whether mitochondrial protein degradation is sufficient to increase health and/or longevity.

Name of research group, project, or lab
Hur lab
Logistics Information:
Project categories
Biology
Student ranks applicable
First-year
Sophomore
Junior
Senior
Time commitment
Summer - Full Time
Compensation
Paid Research
Number of openings
2
Techniques learned

Fruit fly culture (feeding, collecting, mating, etc.)

PCR and qPCR analyses using fly samples to detect DNA or mRNA, respectively

in vitro assays for mitochondrial function (protein degradation, metabolism, etc.)

multiple physiological experiments involving fruit flies (resistance to stress, ability to climb, longevity)

 

Contact Information:
Mentor name
Jae Hur
Mentor email
hur@hmc.edu
Mentor position
Principal Investigator
Name of project director or principal investigator
Jae Hur
Email address of project director or principal investigator
hur@g.hmc.edu
2 sp. | 0 appl.
Hours per week
Summer - Full Time
Project categories
Biology