2014.10.29 Understanding the Mechanisms of Aging: Systems Biology Approaches to an Ancient Problem
Title： Understanding the Mechanisms of Aging: Systems Biology Approaches to an Ancient Problem
Speaker： Prof. Hao Li
Center for Quantitative Biology, Peking University
Time： 1:00pm Oct 29th 2014
Address： Rm 102, East wing of Old Chemistry Building, Peking Unversity
Chair： Prof. Luhua Lai, Center for Quantitative Biology
Aging is a complex and universal phenomenon. All species age; human is no exception. Although aging seems inevitable, dream for immortality started early in human civilization. Historically many attempts had been made to cure or slow down aging, with no success. In the last few decades, application of molecular genetics to the study of aging has led to the surprising discovery that the lifespan of a species is plastic and can be manipulated by simple genetic/dietary changes, raising the hope that we may be able to significantly extend the human lifespan and at the same time prevent or cure age-related diseases. Here I describe a canonical model for aging study -- the replicative aging of budding yeast. In the past few years, we have used systems biology approaches to tackle this problem. We have developed microfluidic systems that allow us to directly observe the aging process at the molecular level in single cells throughout their lifespan. Parallel to the development of single cell technology, we have established new genetic systems that enable us to perform high throughput screening of mutations/drugs that extend lifespan. We have also used functional genomics tools to analyze the cellular state and the global regulatory network that influence lifespan. I will illustrate through specific examples how systems biology approaches can lead to new insight into the mechanism of lifespan extension by genetic/environmental perturbations.