- Ph.D., University of Cologne, Genetics, 2012
- M.S., Dresden University of Technology, Molecular Bioengineering, 2007
- B.S., University of Maine at Orono, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 2001
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The Rollins Laboratory wants to enable people to enjoy longer, healthier lives. A recent revolution in aging research has led to the discovery that the activity of single genes can control the rate at which we age. We are building on this revolution by studying how life-extending interventions like dietary restriction regulate gene expression to help protect our cells and tissues from declining with age. We use the roundworm, C. elegans, as a model organism to study human aging, as roundworms share many of their genes with us and because their short lifespans allow us to rapidly test for interventions that extend longevity.
Gene expression is regulated on multiple levels: by transcription rates of DNA into mRNA copies, by recruitment of mRNA to the ribosome to be translated into proteins and by the degradation rates of the mRNA or protein products. We have previously shown that when C. elegans are treated with dietary restriction, many longevity genes are regulated exclusively on the level of translation. Protein translation is made possible by the ribosome, an intricate molecular machine comprised of multiple proteins. Our current work explores how regulation of longevity genes occurs under dietary restriction by investigating how the protein composition of the ribosome determines which mRNAs are selected for translation and which are not.
Living Long, But Living Well
BioTechniques · June 20, 2017
Living Long and Living Well: is it Possible to Do Both?
Regenerative Medicine Network · June 8, 2017
Living Long and Living Well: Is It Possible to Do Both?
Press Release · June 5, 2017
Benjamin Garthoff: Research Assistant I
Benjamin Garthoff is a Maine native and a graduate of the University of Maine at Augusta, where he received his undergraduate degree in general biology. Prior to joining the MDI Biological Laboratory, Garthoff was employed as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) for nearly two years at a nursing home for dementia patients. At the MDI Biological Laboratory, he was the first hire in the Rollins lab and is responsible for general maintenance of the lab, C. elegans lifespan and thermotolerance assays and molecular biology experiments. Garthoff’s long-term goals include exploring potential routes to graduate education and playing a bigger role in experimental design.