Lei Zhang Sunday, May 29, 2022 (Zoom talk)

Title: Hunting senotherapeutics to extend healthy longevity

Abstract: Aging is associated with declines in health and physiological functions, leading to an increase in the number of many chronic diseases. One of the critical pillars or underlying mechanisms of aging is cellular senescence. Senescence is a phenomenon in which cells lose the ability to proliferate under different cellular stress conditions, resulting in a state of stable cell cycle arrest. With age, senescent cells accumulate in various tissues where they contribute to loss of tissue homeostasis, aging, and age-related diseases through their inflammatory senescence-associated secretory phenotypes (SASPs). Senotherapeutics able to selectively eliminate senescent cells, termed senolytics, or suppress the detrimental SASPs, termed senomorphics, we have been demonstrated to improve age-associated comorbidities and aging phenotypes. To discover novel senotherapeutics translatable to promote healthy longevity,  we have leveraged drug screening and drug design strategies, and developed a series of novel senolytics and senomorphics. The studies of the therapeutic potential of four of these senotherapeutics using cell and mouse models of senescence and aging will be presented. 

Dr. Lei Zhang is a research assistant professor working at Dr. Paul Robbins lab at the Institute on the Biology of Aging and Metabolism at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Zhang has a broad research background in senescence and aging, drug design, drug screening, cell and molecular biology, medicinal chemistry, and organic chemistry. His work currently focuses on investigating longevity factors and pro-aging signaling pathways using cell culture and mouse models, as well as developing novel senotherapeutics to extend healthy lifespan by drug screening and drug design.