Eyleen J. O'Rourke, Ph.D.

Eyleen O'Rourke
Assistant Professor
Department of Biology
University of Virginia
PO Box 400328
City, State, ZIP
Charlottesville, VA 22904
(434) 260-1166
[email protected]
Research field
Genetics; Physiology
Award year


My lab plans to uncover the complete network of genes that govern metabolism at the whole organism level using the worm C. elegans. While much has been learned about the buildup and utilization of energy units such as lipids and sugars at the cellular level, there have been limitations to understanding how these processes are controlled in a whole animal system. I will inactivate more than 90% of the genes in C. elegans and monitor the effect that these gene losses have on fat storage—a readout of the animal's energy intake and expenditure. I will then inactivate the uncovered metabolic genes, one by one, in different tissue types, including the nervous system, muscles, digestive tract, and reproductive system. The results will constitute the basis to model the metabolism of the whole animal with single-cell resolution—a resource that will transform our ability to unravel disease mechanisms and provide a tool for designing treatments for a variety of metabolic disorders such as diabetes.

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