Coleen T. Murphy, Ph.D.

Title
Associate Professor
Department
Molecular Biology/LSI Genomics
Institution
Princeton University
Address
Lewis-Sigler Institute
148 Carl Icahn Laboratory
City, State, Zip
Princeton, NJ 08544
Phone
(609) 258-9396
E-mail
ctmurphy[at]princeton.edu
Website
http://www.molbio1.princeton.edu/labs/murphy/
Research Field
Genetics
Award Year
2006

Research

The goal of my lab is to enrich our understanding of the molecular basis of aging process by first identifying the genes that are controlled by these global regulators and then elucidating the cell biological and biochemical mechanisms used by these genes to affect lifespan. We have chosen C. elegans as our model system of aging. The initial work in my lab will use microarray techniques to identify transcriptional targets of longevity pathways. For this purpose, we have built both PCR product arrays and 60-mer oligo arrays for the almost 20,000 open reading frames in C. elegans. My previous work identified the genes that act downstream of the C. elegans insulin receptor/FOXO transcription factor pathway, and found that this pathway is likely to be regulated through a feed-forward mechanism; now we would like to determine when the target genes are expressed and distinguish direct from indirect targets. Because downregulation of the insulin receptor pathway is only one of the mechanisms that increase the longevity of C. elegans, we will also use microarrays and genomic analysis to discover transcriptional targets that are shared between multiple longevity pathways. Once the targets have been identified, we can use the C. elegans experimental system to test these genes for their roles in longevity. Now that we know which genes act downstream of the insulin receptor/FOXO pathway to affect lifespan, we would like to identify the sites of action of these genes in the worm. Using fluorescent gene fusions, we can identify the localization and time of expression of specific proteins in the animal to better understand the gene's organismal role. Finally, in vitro studies will be carried out on the most interesting candidate genes to understand their biochemical functions.