We are interested in understanding the neural and molecular basis of sleep and aging using the C. elegans model organism
About the Lab
We are interested in understanding the neural and molecular basis of sleep and aging using the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans, a powerful model organism with a completely mapped genome and nervous system. C. elegans is particularly suited for studying aging and sleep. It displays all behavioral hallmarks of sleep behavior as in humans, and its nervous system physiology is remarkably different between sleep and wake states. Many anatomical and functional changes that are observed in human aging are also seen in C. elegans. Its short life span of about three weeks and a rapid 2-3 day life-cycle coupled to its small size, allows easy genetic manipulation and high-throughput screening of mutations in worm genes with altered sleep and aging phenotypes. Worm genes show strong homology with their human counterparts, particularly in genes that regulate sleep and aging. Many fundamental discoveries have been made with C. elegans such as RNA interference and gene regulation of programmed cell death, and it likewise is a valuable discovery system for sleep and aging research.
Learn more about our current and ongoing research projects, and how you can join the lab
Our research currently focuses on two projects: 1) the metabolic regulation of sleep; and 2) circular RNA function in aging. Our research is made possible by current grant support from the NIH National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), National Institute on Aging (NIA), as well as the COBRE Integrative Neuroscience program center (NIGMS).
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We are located in the Biology Dept of the University of Nevada, Reno. The campus is nestled on the base of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, about four hours from San Francisco and 30 min from Lake Tahoe with its hiking trails, ski resorts, and beaches.