Jenny joined the University of Kent in 2014 after conducting postdocs with Prof David Gems (UCL) and Prof Keith Blackwell (Harvard). She obtained her PhD from Imperial College London under supervision of Prof Malcolm Parker. Her background covers ageing biology, transcriptional regulation and C. elegans genetics. At Kent, Jenny combines her research in these topics with undergraduate teaching and postgraduate supervision.
Ageing is a major risk factor for many diseases but research shows that it is possible to modulate the ageing process to improve health and increase lifespan. The Tullet lab is interested in understanding the molecular detail underlying ageing and age-related health. This knowledge could eventually allow us to improve the ageing process and relieve some of the suffering associated with it.
It is difficult to study ageing in humans due to the time scales involved so, scientists use simpler organisms such as worms, flies and mice. Our work uses the nematode worm C. elegans to understand the ageing process. 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. Importantly, interventions that extend lifespan also tend to protect against age-related pathologies so, we are not simply extending lifespan but also improving the quality of late-life health.
The molecules we study are also present in mammalian cells. So, by studying their effects on lifespan in worms, we will eventually be able to use this information to design interventions to slow ageing and improve the late-life health of humans.
See External lab home page for more details.
MSc-R projects available for 2020/21
Understanding how RNA Polymerase III acts to promote longevity and health
We are always looking for new team members to enhance, develop and add value to our research. Our lab, and that of our collaborators recently showed that reduced expression of RNA polymerase III extends lifespan in a number of different model organisms (Filer et al, 2017 Nature). This research project aims to understand the molecular mechanisms underpinning how partial inhibition of RNA polymerase III can extend lifespan in C. elegans. This exciting project will train you in a variety of genetic and molecular biology techniques and you will work both independently and as part of our team use these to examine the biology of ageing. The long-term aim of this work is to ensure human health and wellbeing throughout the life course.
Additional research costs: £1500
Eating and Sleeping: Understanding how SKN-1/Nrf acts in the nervous system to promote satiety
Over-eating is unhealthy, but how do we know when to stop eating? This exciting project integrates behavioural physiology of C. elegans, neuroscience, cell biology, genetics and molecular biology to understand how these decisions are made. Our work has recently identified that a neuronal expressed transcription factor called SKN-1 (human Nrf) regulates these processes. During your research experience in our lab you will work both independently and as part of our team to unravel the intricate underlying biology of this process. You will receive training in a wide variety of molecular, genetic and physiological techniques and we hope that your findings will be harnessed to improve the health and fitness of our population.
Additional research costs: £1500
Go to www.jennytulletlab.com for more details on our research and lab environment.