A little worm with a big problem...


Though separated from us by at least 600 million years of evolution, Caenorhabditis nematodes use a remarkably conserved tool-kit of genes to navigate the challenges and dangers of being alive on planet Earth. Oxidative stress, UV light, and excessive heat represent only a few of the miseries that plague our cells, leading to disease, aging, and death. Like us, these little worms deftly navigate an onslaught of stressors in their environment all while finding enough food to grow up and make babies, securing the immortality of their genes. The mysteries of this ability are largely taken for granted, and yet, could provide important clues for the prevention of cancer and other age-related diseases. My research takes advantage of the elegant simplicity of nematodes to probe the genetics and physiology of growth, stress resistance, aging, and reproduction at the level of the whole organism and in the context of its evolutionary fitness. 

Photo source: commons.wikimedia.org The original uploader was Kbradnam at English Wikipedia. (Original text: Zeynep F. Altun, Editor of www.wormatlas.org) -Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons. (Original text: Donated by Zeynep F. Altun). This photo was not altered for use in this website.

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