Healthy Aging
Healthy Aging
Getting older doesn't have to mean getting sicker. We are committed to discovering the fundamental causes of aging and finding new ways to prevent and treat aging-related diseases.



The Goldilocks effect in aging research

Ever since researchers connected the shortening of telomeres— the protective caps on the ends of chromosomes—to aging and disease, the race has been on to understand the factors that govern telomere length. Salk Professor and holder of the Donald and Darlene Shiley Chair Jan Karlseder, first author Teresa Rivera and colleagues have found that a balance of elongation and trimming in stem cells results in telomeres that are, as Goldilocks would say, not too short and not too long, but just right. The finding deepens our understanding of stem cell biology and could help advance stem cell based therapies, especially related to aging and regenerative medicine.

See microscopy from this research.

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Findings highlight promise of chimeric organisms for science and medicine

The word “chimera” originally described mythological creatures or deities in polytheistic religions. In science, an interspecies chimera is an organism containing cells from different species. Rapid advances in the ability to grow cells, tissues and organs of one species within an organism of another species (forming “chimeric” organisms) offer an unprecedented opportunity for tackling longstanding scientific mysteries and addressing pressing human health problems, particularly the need for transplantable organs and tissues. The lab of Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte combined cutting-edge gene-editing and stem cell technologies to grow a rat pancreas, heart and eyes in a developing mouse, providing proof-of-concept that functional organs from one species can be grown in another. The work marks the first steps toward the generation of transplantable human organs using large animals.

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