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An Interview with Dr. Vera Gorbunova

Today, we have an interview with Dr. Vera Gorbunova, who talks about the current understanding of the mechanisms of longevity and genomic stability in exceptionally long-lived mammals and how this knowledge might be used to create therapies to extend healthy human lifespan.

Dr. Vera Gorbunova is an endowed Professor of Biology at the University of Rochester and a co-director of the Rochester Aging Research Center. Her research is focused on understanding the mechanisms of longevity and genome stability and on the studies of exceptionally long-lived mammals. Dr. Gorbunova earned her B.Sc. degrees at Saint Petersburg State University in Russia and her Ph.D. at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. Dr. Gorbunova pioneered the comparative biology approach to studying aging and identifying the rules that control the evolution of tumor suppressor mechanisms, which depend on the species’ lifespan and body mass.



While she is known for her work in investigating the role of sirtuins in maintaining genomic stability, the focus of her research has more recently been on the longest-lived rodent species, the naked mole rat. During the interview, she talks about her work with this animal, which does not appear to age and lives for decades while other rodents do not.

Dr. Gorbunova identified high molecular weight hyaluronan as the key mediator of cancer resistance in the naked mole rat. This animal also enjoys highly efficient protein synthesis as well as a superb DNA damage repair system and, thus, a stable genome. Together, these things appear to support longevity, and she believes that we can learn how to increase our healthy lifespan by studying them.

We hope that you enjoy this interview, and we would like to thank Dr. Gorbunova for taking the time to talk with us.


About the author

Steve Hill

Steve serves on the LEAF Board of Directors and is the Editor in Chief, coordinating the daily news articles and social media content of the organization. He is an active journalist in the aging research and biotechnology field and has to date written over 600 articles on the topic, interviewed over 100 of the leading researchers in the field, hosted livestream events focused on aging, as well as attending various medical industry conferences. His work has been featured in H+ magazine, Psychology Today, Singularity Weblog, Standpoint Magazine, Swiss Monthly, Keep me Prime, and New Economy Magazine. Steve is one of three recipients of the 2020 H+ Innovator Award and shares this honour with Mirko Ranieri – Google AR and Dinorah Delfin – Immortalists Magazine. The H+ Innovator Award looks into our community and acknowledges ideas and projects that encourage social change, achieve scientific accomplishments, technological advances, philosophical and intellectual visions, author unique narratives, build fascinating artistic ventures, and develop products that bridge gaps and help us to achieve transhumanist goals. Steve has a background in project management and administration which has helped him to build a united team for effective fundraising and content creation, while his additional knowledge of biology and statistical data analysis allows him to carefully assess and coordinate the scientific groups involved in the project.
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