Pamela Larsen

Pamela Larsen, PhD, is Associate Professor of Cell Systems & Anatomy in the Department of Cellular and Structural Biology at Univesity of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio. Pamela focuses on development and aging using C. elegans as a model organism, with the intention of answering the question of what biological mechanisms govern adult health and life span.

Genetic and environment components contribute to a long healthy life. The longevity manipulations Pamela's lab uses in C. elegans are: 1) mutation of the daf-2 gene, which is homologous to insulin/IGF1 signaling pathways, and 2) cultivation at a cool temperature. Both cooler core body temperatures and reduction of the daf-2/insulin/IGF-1 signaling pathway are pro-survival in multiple species including humans. They are defining environment by genotype interactions that alter gene transcription (epigenetics) and then testing the functional contribution to adult health and life span. For this their studies include different genotypes at different non-stress-inducing temperatures. They have found that health can be uncoupled from long life. Environmental changes trigger beneficial and detrimental responses. By associating molecular signatures with phenotypes, they can better predict adult health and life span outcomes in different genotypes and environments.
Country: USA