Rochelle Buffenstein, Ph.D.
Department of Biological Sciences
University of Illinois
Title of the talk:
Breaking the mol(e)d: A Non-traditional Animal Model of Exceptional Biogerontological Interest
Dr. Buffenstein has recently relocated to the University of Illinois at Chicago where she is a visiting Research Professor using the extremely long-lived, cancer resistant and hypoxia tolerant naked mole-rat as a model for biomedical research. Prior to this, she was a Senior Principal Investigator at Calico Life Sciences, part of Google’s initiative to understand the basic biology of aging and exploit this knowledge to devise interventions that enable people to lead longer and healthier live
Dr. Buffenstein was trained as a comparative biologist and ecophysiologist in South Africa and Australia, and has worked on three continents studying the physiology and biochemistry of exotic species in relation to mechanisms associated with evolutionary fitness and lifespan.
A key focus of her research has been the biology of the exceptionally long-lived naked mole-rat and the mechanisms these mouse-size rodents employ to maintain good health well into their third decade (!). Moreover, unlike all other mammals studied to date, they show no increase in mortality hazard as they age. Dr Buffenstein pioneered the use of the naked mole-rat as a pertinent animal model for delayed and attenuated aging and evaluates shared mechanisms that may contribute to their aging phenotype with those employed by humans, another long-living species on the basis of body size.
Here, she will discuss some of her more recent findings regarding their aging phenotype as well as their resistance to experimental induction of cancer, and cardiac aging and the putative mechanisms that may be involved in their extraordinary biology.
The keynote address is free and open to the public.