Immortalizing yeast and immortalizing mice, identifying pathways and adapting immortalization to higher level organism.
These two projects are interesting.
Immortalizing yeast and then performing comparative analysis to determine longevity pathways. Futher on, performing the same on simpler cells orgamisms and then onto human cells and larger organisms. Cancer cells are immortalized with telomerase and other mechanisms. How would yeast cells achieve immortality?
"Can we make an immortal yeast?" The Longevity Fund founder Laura Deming wanted to know.
The humble budding yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, is a treasure trove of aging science. Its simple structure, easy observability, short lifespan and similarities to human genetics and aging mechanisms have made it one of the go-to screening platforms for genetic targets. If all the available knowledge was applied in a comprehensive fashion, how long could we extend the yeast lifespan? Forever?
To answer this provocative question, The Astera Fund is supporting new work in Maitreya Dunham’s lab at The University of Washington. The lab will systematically evolve yeast, selecting directly for those that live longest. By tracking genetic change over this process, the Immortal Yeast project will identify the genes involved in yeast aging. By employing various gene knockouts, they will attempt to perform a scientific first: transform an aging organism into an immortal one.
Astera is also funding Elcin Unal and Gloria Brar’s labs at UC Berkeley to understand mechanistically how certain yeast cells self-regulate to remove biomolecular damage during sporulation and other processes.