The Department of Metabolism and Aging focuses on understanding alterations in whole-body metabolism that lead to metabolic diseases and identifying the physiological changes that lead to physical and cognitive decline during aging. This knowledge may then be applied to developing therapies targeting metabolic disease and age-dependent functional impairment, with the goal of maintaining optimal health throughout lifespan.
Current research in the department include programs in metabolism, aging, neuroscience, and neuroendocrinology. Research on metabolism emphasizes understanding the development of obesity and diabetes, with a focus on neuroregulatory circuits and the role of gut microbiota in the control of peripheral metabolism. Aging research is directed towards development of models of accelerated aging by application of Drosophila, zebrafish and mouse genetics. Neuroscience research is focused on elucidating epigenetic mechanisms of learning and memory formation in young compared to old animals. Neuroendocrinology studies are directed toward hormonal approaches for curtailing age-dependent decline in neurotransmitter signaling and preventing neurodegeneration associated with Parkinson’s disease.
Multidisciplinary approaches and the extraordinary enthusiasm for open collaboration across departments facilitate breakthrough research. Ready access to advanced instrumentation for next-generation sequencing, proteomics, structural biology and high-throughput drug screening at Scripps Florida offers unique opportunities to discover new therapeutic targets, identify drug leads, and optimize these leads for target validation through close interactions with medicinal chemists and pharmacologists.