Nano*High - February 9, 2008:
Judy Campisi - "Aging and Cancer: Rival Demons?"
What causes aging? What exactly are the symptoms of aging, and what is its cause? Biologists have shown that aging is a process occurring at all levels of our biology - our tissues, cells, and even our molecules. Dr. Judy Campisi at the Center for Research and Education and Aging shows that aging results partially from evolution, which can promote biological processes that can help us in our youth but be harmful in our old age. Her research also demonstrates the surprising but implicit connection between cancer and the aging process.
Genome maintenance, aging and cancer
The Campisi laboratory is focused on understanding the cellular and molecular biology of aging, specifically by exploring the causes and consequences of cellular senescence (when cells are no longer able to divide) and cell death, and the effects of DNA damage and repair on premature aging and cancer-prone syndromes. Campisi, who also holds a position at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, is internationally known for her work on cellular aging and telomeres (chromosomestabilizing "caps"); her lab studies the roles of certain anti-cancer genes, the role of telomeres and certain telomere-associated proteins in the maintenance of genomic stability, and how cells respond to oxidative stress. She is working collaboratively with the Lithgow, Benz and Vijg laboratories on studies to determine the roles of tumor suppressor genes, genomic stability and oxidative stress on the manifestations (phenotypes) of aging and cancer.
"Aging is controlled by genes and the environment, and poses the largest single risk for developing a panoply of diseases, including cancer. Why do organisms age, and why do diseases such as cancer rise exponentially with age? My laboratory aims to understand the molecular and cellular basis of aging in mammals."
- Judy Campisi, Ph.D.
Sally Nasman, Organizer
Nano*High gratefully acknowledges QB3, the California Institute for Quantitative Biosystems for providing the lecture hall on the University of California Berkeley campus.