Dr Jennifer Tullet joined the University of Kent in 2014 after conducting postdocs with Professor David Gems (UCL) and Professor Keith Blackwell (Harvard). She obtained her PhD from Imperial College London under the supervision of Professor 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.