Jenny joined the School of Biosciences in September 2014 after conducting postdoctoral research with Prof David Gems (University College London) and Prof Keith Blackwell (Harvard). Prior to that, she obtained her PhD from Imperial College London under the supervision of Prof Malcolm Parker. Jenny’s background covers ageing biology, transcriptional regulation and C. elegans genetics. Her research focuses on the molecules and processes that regulate lifespan and influence life-long health.
The Tullet laboratory is interested in understanding the detailed molecular mechanisms via which ageing occurs. Their work uses the nematode worm C. elegans to understand the ageing process (making them honorary members of the KFG as they don’t actually use yeast as a model). This amazing, tiny worm (1mm long) lives for 3 weeks in the laboratory and has been vital to our understanding of ageing. It is possible to extend its lifespan either by changing its genetic makeup or by altering the environment in which it is grown. Current research topics include: understanding the roles of transcription factors in the regulation of ageing; deciphering the relationship between diet and lifespan and; examining the role of energy balance in regulating lifespan.
Importantly, interventions that extend lifespan also tend to protect against age-related pathologies so, our aim is not simply to extend lifespan but also to improve the quality of late-life health. As the molecules that we study are conserved in mammalian cells, studying their effects on lifespan in worms, means that this information will eventually be used to design interventions to slow ageing and improve the late-life health of humans.