I study biology across lifespans to understand one of the most challenging questions of biology: “Why does biological aging occur”? Cellular aging is highly complex, involving multiple mechanisms at different levels. Starting at the molecular level in the nucleus through chromosome structure/organization, genomic instability, metabolic regulation, transcriptional/translational regulation of genes, and connected to the several cellular pathways such as protein translation and quality control, autophagic recycling of organelles, maintenance of cytoskeletal structure, nutrition sensing and mitochondrial homeostasis. Each regulatory system receives information from every other system, resulting in an intricate interplay of regulation, controlling the aging of the cell. This intrinsic complexity of aging remains a significant challenge to understanding how aging is caused. By combining computational and experimental approaches on different aging models, I am trying to understand the interaction and synergism between different processes that regulate cellular aging. Understanding these connections is likely to be important in developing effective interventions against the molecular and cellular processes; interventions that can delay the onset of multiple age-related diseases and prolong healthy lifespan.
Alaattin Kaya earned his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2013. He then completed his postdoctoral studies at Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School in 2017. Before joining the Department of Biology at VCU in September of 2019, he spent two years as a junior faculty member in the Division of Genetics at Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School, beginning in August of 2017.