The Healthy Ageing – Molecules to Organisms conference organised by Linda Partridge, Andrew Dillin and others hosted excellent speakers presenting their research of the biology of ageing. Some of my favourites were:
- Valter Longo, University of California, spoke about how prolonged fasting followed by refeeding can have regenerative effects in different tissues. Fascinating results from his lab show a diet is low in calories, sugar and protein but high in fats, mimics true fast and has regenerative effects on insulin-producing pancreatic β-cells from T1D, and can reverse T1D and T2D phenotypes in mouse models . This indicates that dietary interventions such as the fast-mimicking diet can be used to treat diabetes. Read the paper here.
- Dario Valenzano, Max Planck Institute of Ageing, spoke about a new emerging model organism to study ageing, the African turquoise killifish. Killifish is the shortest lived vertebrate species bred in captivity, making it very useful to study ageing in the laboratory. Valenzano’s lab is using killifish to study how the microbiota affect ageing in the host, and found that microbial diversity decreases during ageing, while there is an increase in pathogenic bacteria. Faecal transplants from young to old animals resulted in longer and healthier life of the old animals, showing that the composition of the gut microbes can improve health and increase life span and that targeting the microbiota can improve the ageing process. Read the paper here.