Towards understanding mysteries of our own development and aging
- Friday, May 1, 2015 from 4:10pm to 5:00pm
- Barnard Hall - view map
"Towards understanding mysteries of our own development and aging”
Dr. Renee Reijo Pera, Vice-President for Research and Economic Development, Professor, Department of Cell Biology and Neurosciences & Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Abstract: I have spent my career studying the development of the human germ line and embryo and have often wondered how the conserved core genetic machinery that is central to survival across diverse species, might be modulated in a species specific manner to give rise to the unique properties of our cells, tissues and organs and the unique pathologies that mark their demise in human aging and disease. I will discuss our studies that have identified a large group of novel human-specific genes that encode long non-coding RNAs and how we might model the interactions of these RNAs with the overall transcriptional programs and molecular health of human cells with change of state in vitro and in vivo as a function of age. Our studies suggest that a substantial proportion of the human genome, previously thought to be repetitive and of little function, may function to maintain our cell identity in the face of the assaults of external stimuli, internal transcriptional and translational heterogeneity, and aging.