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Alysia Vrailas-Mortimer to speak on genetic and environmental influences on aging

stained fly

Alysia Vrailas-Mortimer, Ph.D., an assistant professor at Illinois State University, will present on how genes and environmental factors influence aging. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend his seminar from 4–5 p.m. on Thursday, October 3, in 210 Moulton Hall. This is part of the weekly School of Biological Sciences seminar series.

We are currently in an era of massive global aging with the population of seniors to increase from 739 million to over two billion people by 2050. With our aging population comes an increase in age-dependent diseases, and therefore, it is critical that we understand the underlying mechanisms of aging and how these mechanisms contribute to a diseased state. Aging is a complex process that results in the progressive deterioration of the body, though not all tissues in the body will age at the same rate. In order to understand how genetic and environmental factors influence aging and age-related diseases, Vrailas-Mortimer uses the genetic model organism Drosophila melanogaster (fruit fly), which has been instrumental in our understanding on of not only aging but also a number of human diseases.

Vrailas-Mortimer has found that a stress response gene known as p38 MAPK is a regulator of aging and environmental stresses. Her work has focused on understanding how p38 MAPK regulates age and what is the relationship between environmental stress and age-related diseases such as muscular dystrophies. In addition, she and collaborators have been exploring the role of copper toxicity in a variety of age-dependent neurological disorders such as schizophrenia and Parkinson’s disease.

To learn more about her research, please visit Vrailas-Mortimer’s website https://about.illinoisstate.edu/admorti/Pages/default.aspx

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