Neuroendocrine regulation of ageing and physiology...
The Ch'ng Lab exploit the unique combination of powerful genomic/genetic tools, stereotyped cellular anatomy and automated high-throughput imaging techniques in live C. elegans to study ageing and other physiological processes.
The short natural lifespan of C. elegans (~2 weeks) allows us to complete experiments in days or weeks that may require months to decades in other animals.
Neuroendocrine circuits that influence ageing
In C. elegans and mammals, ageing is influenced by communication between signalling centres in the nervous system and other tissues, but the precise neuroendocrine circuits are not fully detailed. To detail these circuits, we use bioinformatic and genomic approaches to identify molecular signals that modify C. elegans lifespan and other aspects of physiology, and pinpoint the cells from which they act.
Interpreting environmental and nutritional cues
Environmental and nutritional cues affect the ageing process, but how these cues are interpreted by neuroendocrine circuits is poorly understood. We use high-throughput quantitative fluorescence microscopy to investigate how environmental and nutritional information is relayed and integrated through these circuits. Because the conserved insulin/insulin-like growth factor (IGF) signalling pathway influences many conserved physiological processes (including ageing) across animal phyla, we have developed tools to measure and manipulate insulin/IGF signaling in live C. elegans. We are now refining these tools and developing new ones.
Through this research, we expect to understand how neuroendocrine circuits process and integrate information from environmental and nutritional cues to affect ageing at the cellular, tissue and organismal level. Because ageing is modulated by conserved hormonal pathways, we anticipate that insights from our studies will reveal biological mechanisms relevant to human ageing and age-related diseases such as Alzhemier's and sarcopenia.