Pankaj Kapahi

Pankaj Kapahi, PhD, is Professor at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging. His research interests are understanding the role of nutrition and energy metabolism in lifespan and disease. He works primarily on nutrition and aging in flies, including caloric restriction.

Dietary restriction (DR), the reduction in nutrient intake without malnutrition, has been well documented as a means to extend lifespan and slow age-related diseases in many systems. Pankaj's lab and others have previously demonstrated that lifespan extension by inhibition of the TOR pathway overlaps with the effects of DR in D. melanogaster, S. cerevisiae, and C. elegans. However, other DR response mechanisms exist that remain undiscovered. The overall goal of the Kapahi lab is to understand how an organism responds to nutrient status to influence health and disease.

They utilize worms, flies, and mice as model systems to understand how nutrients influence age-related changes in specific tissues and disease processes. They take creative approaches to develop models for various human diseases that are influenced by nutrient status using invertebrates. They study how various physiological and molecular processes, including fat metabolism, circadian clocks, advanced glycation end products, calcification, and intestinal permeability, are influenced by nutrients to impact organismal health and survival. They collaborate with multiple groups at University of California, San Francisco, and University of California, Berkeley, to undertake interdisciplinary approaches to translate our findings from multiple models to humans.