Scripps Research Logo

Department of Neuroscience

Michael Petrascheck, PhD

Associate Professor
Department of Molecular Medicine
California Campus
Laboratory Website
(858) 784-7463

Scripps Research Joint Appointments

Department of Neuroscience
Assistant Professor, Dorris Neuroscience Center
Department of Molecular and Experimental Medicine
Faculty, Graduate Program

Research Focus

Old age is accompanied by a deterioration of tissues and organs, increased susceptibility to disease, and an exponential increase in mortality. The last years have seen great progress in unraveling the mechanisms underlying aging. It has become clear that aging is regulated by various genetic pathways which when properly manipulated lead to increases in lifespan. These findings raise the exciting possibility that age related diseases could be treated by targeting aging pathways instead of the disease itself.

To investigate this possibility we have screened for small molecules that extend lifespan in C.elegans. The power of the small molecule approach lies in its enormous flexibility. Small molecules can be tested in cell lines, various model organisms, different models of age related disease, in combination with each other, or in combination with mutations known to affect aging and lifespan. Using life-extending small molecules as probes we can now start to investigate the molecular connection between aging and age-related diseases.


Ph.D., Molecular Biology, University of Zurich, 2001

Selected References

Petrascheck, M., Ye, X., and Buck, LB. (2009) "A high-throughput screen for chemicals that increase the lifespan of Caenorhabditis elegans." Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1170:698-701.

Petrascheck, M., Ye, X., and Buck, LB. (2007) "An antidepressant that extends lifespan in adult Caenorhabditis elegans." Nature 450, 553-556