My Research Interests:
Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin (mTOR) signaling is central to nutrient sensing and metabolic pathways. Several studies have shown that modulation of mTOR signaling can change the course of metabolic disorders and lifespan sometimes in confounding ways. For example, inhibition of mTOR by Rapamycin increases lifespan but also has the adverse complication of increased insulin resistance.
My current research focuses on TMEM127, a novel tumor suppressor gene identified in our lab and shown to inhibit mTOR pathway. Our studies show that loss of Tmem127 in mice, despite showing increased mTOR signaling, can protect from age-dependent obesity and insulin resistance. We hypothesize that Tmem127 has complex roles in metabolism and are delineating mechanisms by which Tmem127 inhibition can be useful in achieving healthy Aging.
Why I Pursued Aging Research:
Success of bio-medical research has led to increase in human longevity resulting in an aging population. In order to take care of the aging population research in the areas of mechanisms of aging assumes importance. Although healthy lifestyle choices like exercise, caloric restriction etc, can promote healthy aging, it has been highly difficult to achieve the ideal healthy aging process by lifestyle approaches alone. Instead we are experiencing sick aging population as well as young individuals developing obesity and diabetes. Thus research focused on understanding the molecular mechanisms of healthy aging and metabolism as well as on therapeutic intervention to achieve healthy aging are of great importance.
My Future Plans:
I would like to pursue research in aging and metabolism to better understand the process and pave way for their use in real life.
Awards and Honors:
- 2015 Post-doctoral fellowship in Biology of Aging Institutional Ruth L. Kirschstein National Reseach Service Award (NRSA) Training Grant (T-32)
- 2015 Best Poster Award, 'Medicine Research Day 2015' at UT Health San Antonio
- 2015 Selected for Oral Presentation, 'Medicine Research Day 2015', UT Health San Antonio
- 2014 Selected for Oral Presentation, 'Fifth Annual Frontiers of Translational Science Research Day', UT Health San Antonio
- 2010 Selected for Oral Presentation, '4th Annual RNA Stability Meeting-RNA Turnover and Translation: Biological and Pathological Ramifications', Montreal, Canada
- 2007 Visiting Fellowshi, National Institute on Aging, NIH, USA