Biomedical Sciences

Modeling Human Diseases and Aging

The use of rodent (and other) models for understand the genetics and pathology of a wide range of human diseases is a major mission in the Department. Besides the long-standing interest in diseases of the cardiovascular system and calcium imaging modalities for cardiac and other tissues, spearheaded by our former Chair and now Provost, Michael Kotlikoff, our Department has a growing interest in aging and in metabolic disease. Sergiy Libert is interested in the role of sirtuins in aging, cancer, and other human diseases with a current emphasis on how sirtuins may be effective targets to control such neurodegenerative diseases as Parkinson’s Disease. The lab of Bethany Cummings is interested in metabolic diseases such as diabetes, as well as other diseases associated with aging. The Cummings lab uses a novel mouse model of bariatric surgery to understand the molecular mechanisms by which such surgery improves glucose regulation and cardiovascular disease outcomes, while at the same time reducing the risk of some cancers. Praveen Sethupathy will move his lab to Biomedical Sciences in June 2017. His lab focuses on how microRNAs function in the liver and intestine, with particular focus on the role of these regulatory RNAs in the molecular etiology of complex diseases, including diabetes, hyperlipidemia, liver cancer, and inflammatory bowel diseases.