Biology professor Jeffrey Copeland to discuss research into aging genes and electrochemistry

Jeffrey Copeland, professor of biology at Eastern Mennonite University, will present a Suter Science Seminar on Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018, at 4 p.m.

Copeland will discuss Aging Genes and Electrochemistry in the Drosophila Brain.

The seminar in Science Center Room 106 is free and open to the public.

All things get old, and despite its universality, the molecular causes for the aging process have yet to be understood. Experiments performed in model systems have shown that a selective set of ‘aging’ genes, acting in only small, distinct sets of cells, are capable of controlling the aging process for the entire animal. In the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, genetic inactivation of the mitochondrial electron transport chain shows longevity-specific results. Mitochondrial changes specifically in glutamatergic and motor neurons are capable of extending fly lifespan, but inactivation in other neurons abbreviates life span.

Research exploring the role of the mitochondria in aging has revealed similar roles in more complex organisms, like mice and fish.

Copeland works to uncover the genes and neurons impacting the aging process and neurodegenerative diseases, like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis,  using the little fruit fly as a model system. He also studies the role of RNF11 in dopamine release, fly behavior, and Parkinson’s disease. Jeff earned his doctorate in biology from the California Institute of Technology and completed his post-doctoral training in aging and mitochondrial biology at the University of California, Los Angeles.

This is the final of five Suter Science Seminars this fall, which are made possible by the sponsorship of the Daniel B. Suter Endowment in Biology and the co-sponsorship of supporting programs.


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