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Exploiting Organismal Stress Response Mechanisms to Combat Age-associated Diseases

Every single cell within an organism is subject to environmental and physiological challenges that can harm proteins - the fundamental building blocks of life. To safeguard their health and endure stress, cells have developed robust stress response mechanisms that are swiftly activated. This explains why certain organisms can survive in extreme heat or high salt conditions. However, as we age, these protective mechanisms gradually lose their efficiency, sometimes even failing entirely. This slow degradation disrupts protein functionality, leading to protein mis-folding and aggregation, which in turn trigger age-associated diseases. Our lab is on a mission to unravel how these protective stress response mechanisms are regulated at an organismal level. More importantly, we aim to identify ways to specifically target these mechanisms, ensuring they maintain their cell-protective activity for extended periods. We hope for our research to open up new avenues that combat age-associated diseases and enhance the overall quality of life.

Patricija van Oosten-Hawle, PhD

Department of Biological Sciences

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte

9201 University City Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28223

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