Professor, Department of Genetics
Chair, Department of Genetics
Lola and Saul Kramer Chair in Molecular Genetics
Genome Instability in Aging and Disease
Genome instability, i.e., the tendency of the genome to acquire mutations and epimutations, underlies human genetic disease, causally contributes to cancer and has also been implicated in aging and age-related, degenerative conditions other than cancer. Little is known about the mechanisms that give rise to spontaneous changes in the genome or epigenome and how this may lead, in somatic cells, to increased cancer risk and loss of organ and tissue function with age. We study genome and epigenome instability as a function of age in various model organisms, including mouse and fruit fly, and its consequences in terms of alterations in tissue-specific patterns of gene regulation.
We developed transgenic reporter systems in mouse and fruit fly, which allow us to determine tissue-specific frequencies of various forms of genome instability, e.g., point mutations, deletions, translocations. By crossing the mutational reporter animals with mutants harboring specific defects in various genome maintenance pathways, the relevance of these pathways for the accumulation of specific forms of genome instability is assessed, in relation to the pathophysiology of aging. Similarly, by using knockdown approaches we assess the effect of specific genes implicated in longevity and healthy aging, e.g., SOD, FOXO, SIR2, on genome integrity.
More recently, we have begun to assess global gene mutation and epimutation loads in normal and disease tissues of both animal models and humans using massively parallel sequencing approaches.
More Information About Dr. Jan Vijg
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Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Michael F. Price Center
1301 Morris Park Avenue , Room 450
Bronx, NY 10461
The New York Times interviews Dr. Jan Vijg regarding a new study showing a specially designed drug that was developed to mimic high doses of resveratrol (a chemical compound found in red wine) substantially extended the average life span of obese mice.
The New York Times quotes Dr. Jan Vijg in response to new research suggesting that the human life span could be extended.