Dr. Martin Denzel

Research Area: Metabolic and genetic Regulation of Ageing

Website: denzellab.com

1. Research Background:

Ageing is a complex process that is influenced by an organism’s genetic makeup and its environment. Why almost all organisms age is incompletely understood, and we know much less about potential ways to decelerate this process. A better understanding of the biology of ageing is particularly important as age-associated diseases are becoming more prevalent in increasingly older populations.
We are implementing a number of forward genetic screening approaches to identify mechanisms that modulate the rate of ageing. We then aim to understand the underlying biology using molecular and biochemical approaches. Past work has identified the metabolic hexosamine pathway as a novel regulator of protein quality control and organismal ageing. While pursuing this line of research, we have found additional genetic modulators of the aging process specifically in the regulation of protein synthesis.

2. Research questions addresses by the group:

  • Identification of novel modulators of the aging process through forward genetic screens
  • Cross talk between stress resistance and longevity
  • The role of protein synthesis in stem cells and longevity
  • Regulation of the metabolic hexosamine pathway in homeostasis and aging

3. Possible projects:

  • Development of new tools to study mRNA translation initiation with the goal to understand longevity in C. elegans mutants at a mechanistic level. 

4. Applied Methods and model organisms:

  • Protein biochemistry
  • C. elegans genetics
  • Tissue culture

5. Desirable skills and qualifications:

I am seeking a self-motivated and driven Ph.D. student to join a small team within the lab that investigates the role of mRNA translation in new long-lived mutants that we generated in C. elegans. Background training in C. elegans genetics and biochemical assays are desirable but not a must. 

6. References:

  1. Hexosamine pathway metabolites enhance protein quality control and prolong life. Denzel MS, Storm NJ, Gutschmidt A, Baddi R, Hinze Y, Jarosch E, Sommer T, Hoppe T, Antebi A. Cell. 2014 Mar 13;156(6):1167-78. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2014.01.061.