KSEF R&D Excellence Manipulation of Adult Stem Cells to Improve Human Aging Patterns

  • Van Zant, Gary (PI)

Grants and Contracts Details


Kentucky, like the rest of the country, is undergoing a major change in age demographics. The average age of the population is rapidly growing older: we are living longer but in another sense are taking much longer to die. For most of us, the vast majority of our medical costs are accrued in the last several years of our lives. Thus, the final years are associated with significant morbidity and a diminished quality of life. My research program is focused on understanding the decline in organ function that leads these detrimental physiological changes and, importantly, to develop interventions that lead to healthier, happier and productive aging patterns. The overriding hypothesis of our research is that declining organ function during aging is at least partially due to the failure of adult stem cells in organs such as the bone marrow, liver, lungs, and muscle to effectively replenish functional cells lost through "wear and tear". The model system my lab studies is the bone marrow and lymphoid system. We do so for two reasons, First, stem cells in these tissues are the most well studied and are currently used clinically to transplant patients undergoing treatment for cancer and other congenital blood diseases. Second, age-related decline in the function of the blood and immune system has wide-reaching effects on other organs and is important in controlling immune-related diseases such as diabetes. The specific goal of our studies is to identify genes in hematopoietic stem cells that regulate their proliferation and ensure maintenance of sufficient stem cell numbers throughout life to provide adequate mature cells for normal organ function. We believe that genes regulating the self-renewal of hematopoietic stem cells will also be important in the function of adult stem cells in other organs. By influencing the expression of such stem cell "insurance" genes we hope to be able to better preserve organ integrity during aging. KEY WORDS: STEM CELLS, AGING, GENETICS, HEMATOPOIESIS, BIOINFORMATICS 6
Effective start/end date1/1/0612/31/06


Explore the research topics touched on by this project. These labels are generated based on the underlying awards/grants. Together they form a unique fingerprint.