- Ph.D., University of Missouri, 2001
- Molecular mechanisms of aging and neurodegeneration
- Neuronal regulation of C. elegans larval development
- Drug screening
- The role of autophagy in innate immunity
In the last two decades, the study of the molecular regulation of aging in model organisms, particularly in C. elegans, has greatly expanded our knowledge of aging. Multiple longevity pathways, such as insulin-like growth factor signaling, TOR signaling, dietary restriction, and mitochondrial activity, control aging in C. elegans and other organisms. Recent genetic studies indicate that autophagy, an evolutionary conserved lysosomal degradation pathway, interacts with various longevity signals in the regulation of C. elegans life span. My lab uses C. elegans as a model organism to investigate the molecular mechanisms by which autophagy regulates aging.
Aging is a risk factor for many human diseases including cancer and neurodegeneration. As a corollary, a wide variety of mutations that extend C. elegans life span confer resistance to tumorigenesis. Autophagy is involved in preventing aging, tumorigenesis and neurodegeneration in higher eukaryotes. Thus, a better understanding of the role of autophagy in controlling C. elegans life span may contribute to the understanding of these processes in mammals.
- Chen, D., Zhang, J., Minnerly, J., Kaul, T., Riddle, D. and Jia, K. (2014). daf-31 encodes the catalytic subunit of N alpha-acetyltransferase that regulates Caenorhabditis elegans development, metabolism and adult lifespan. PLoS Genetics 10(10):e1004699. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1004699.
- Sasaki, T., Lian, S., Qi, J., Bayliss, P., Carr, C., Johnson, J., Guha, S., Kobler, P., Catz, S., Gill, M., Jia, K., Klionsky, D.J., and Kishi, S. (2014) Aberrant autolysosomal regulation is linked to the induction of embryonic senescence: differential roles of Beclin 1 and p53 in vertebrate Spns1 deficiency. PLoS Genetics 10(6):e1004409. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1004409.
- Curt, A., Zhang, J., Minnerly, J., and Jia, K. (2014). Intestinal autophagy activity is essential for host defense against Salmonella typhimurium infection in Caenorhabditis elegans. Developmental and Comparative Immunology 45:214-218.
- Huang, S., Jia, K., Wang, Y., Zhou, Z., and Levine, B. (2013). Autophagy genes function in apoptotic corpse clearance during C. elegans embryonic development. Autophagy 9(2):138–149.