Monica Driscoll

Monica Driscoll is Professor in the Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry at Rutgers University. She studies the mechanisms of aging as well as neuronal function using C. elegans as a model.

Monica's lab uses the elegant and powerful model system C. elegans to decipher molecular mechanisms of neuronal function and dysfunction, since maintenance of healthy and functional neuronal populations is critical for human health. The biological problems they investigate include touch sensation, neuronal degeneration and aging. Regarding the latter, several genes that mutate to significantly extend lifespan have been identified in C. elegans, yet little is known about how the animal ages. They have been using cellular markers to study what happens to individual cell types as C. elegans ages. They have found that the nervous system does not dramatically age or degenerate, but muscle deteriorates significantly - a condition similar to human sarcopenia, the progressive muscle loss that accompanies aging. Monica's lab is dissecting molecular mechanisms of muscle decline using the powerful C. elegans model system.