The Cuervo lab studies the pathways that allow cells to remove damaged molecular material--an activity that is compromised as we age. Over time, our cells accumulate proteins that are incorrectly folded and subcellular structures that are no longer functional. To avoid becoming overwhelmed, mammalian cells have two systems for clearing this unwanted molecular debris. Although these systems can compensate for each other should one fail, both tend to malfunction during aging and in some age-related diseases such as Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease. Now, I will identify the regulatory components that allow these systems to balance and augment one another-- findings that could lead to novel therapeutics that promote the clearance of the toxic cell debris that accumulates as we age and in diseases of aging.