Sean Curran

Sean Curran, PhD, focuses on understanding the regulatory control mechanisms that govern animal health across the entire lifespan. Decades of studies in the biology of aging have looked at extending lifespan as a measure of success. Although this approach has uncovered several potent regulators of animal lifespan, there are also examples of long-lived animals that exist in a decrepit state. Obviously, this was not the intent of biogerontologists as their actual goal is to increase healthspan, or the time of life spent in a healthy state. With this in mind, Sean's research group has invested in defining molecular, genetic, and environmental factors that impact multiple parameters of health (resistance to environmental and dietary stress, mobility, metabolism, reproductive-fitness, and mitochondrial function) throughout life. Their goal then is not simply to push the limits of life expectancy, but rather to maximize the quality of health over the largest possible period of the lifespan.

Their long-term goal is to generate blueprints that allow an individual to maximize health over the course of their lifespan. Informed by genetics, the team is developing the capacity to predict which diets are ideal for a healthy life and which should be avoided; moreover, they investigate the mechanistic basis of the molecules, genes, and pathways they have discovered can influence healthspan. The product of this investment is the ability to use diet as a means to circumvent genetic predisposition and prevent or reduce the severity of age-related disease. Their research has benefited from the ability to quickly test several diet-gene pairs in C. elegans, which has allowed them to transition to directed studies in murine models. Although they continue to exploit the utility of genetics and biochemistry of the worm, they expect that their mouse and cultured human cell approaches will synergize and provide relevant information for human aging.
Country: USA