August 28, 2012
John L Hartman IV, MD, an associate professor in the Department of Genetics and member of the Nutrition Obesity Research Center (NORC) at UAB, has been awarded one of two special emphasis grants by the National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) entitled “Demonstration Projects for Systems Biology of Aging in Saccharomyces cerevisiae (R01)”.
The National Institute on Aging was seeking research projects with the potential to demonstrate whether ‘systems’ biology, which is most feasible in simpler organisms, could provide new insight into the molecular mechanisms of aging. The research projects will utilize a single-cell eukaryotic organism, Saccharomyces cerevisiae (budding yeast), which has been a powerful genetic model for cellular and molecular studies on aging. A more complete description of the RFA is given at the web page: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-AG-12-011.html
For this study, Dr. Hartman will apply a novel, quantitative high-throughput lifespan assay to deduce how metabolic networks regulate cellular aging. His specialized expertise in the development of an automated quantitative cell array phenotyping method enables screening for influences on aging among hundreds of thousands of potential genetic-by-environment interactions, which was an important factor in the award of funding his proposal. Equally important for winning the grant was the expertise of other members of the multi-disciplinary scientific team assembled by Dr. Hartman. Co-investigators on the grant include other NORC members, Dr. Daniel Smith and Dr. Stephen Barnes, and Dr. Eric Schadt from Mt. Sinai, who is a pioneer in the area of biological networks. The team’s expertise spans the areas of nutrient effects on aging, ‘omic’ analysis (including transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics, and phenomics) as well as biostatistics and construction of predictive computational models. The project is entitled "Constructing gene-regulatory networks to reveal the metabolic basis of lifespan in yeast".