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The Brookdale Foundation Group

300

Frank W. Burr Blvd

Suite 13

Teaneck, NJ

07666

 

Phone:

201-836-4602

 

Fax:

201-836-4342

 

Darren Baker, PhD

Darren Baker, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, Minnesota. Dr. Baker is a graduate of the University of Minnesota (BS) in Minneapolis and the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine Graduate School (MS) in Rochester. He received his PhD degree on the basis of his work on the mitotic checkpoint in cancer and aging at Radboud University in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. His research focuses on understanding the cellular and molecular biology of aging to elucidate the mechanisms that regulate the development of aging-related disorders, including cancer. Specifically, he is interested in the causes and consequences of cellular senescence, a state of irreversible cell cycle arrest, which has been proposed to drive the process of aging. During the early stages of tumorigenesis, senescence is often engaged to provide protection against malignancies, which ultimately requires further mutations in order to bypass this arrest for tumor progression. Because senescence has both positive and negative effects on individual cells and the organism, attempts to modulate these effects have proven difficult.

As a Brookdale Fellow, Dr. Baker will utilize his newly developed mouse model that allows for the selective removal of senescent cells from tissues of adult mice in order to determine the contribution of these cells to aging and cancer. The goal of this project is to definitively demonstrate that cellular senescence is causally implicated in aging and that irradication of these cells prevents or delays age-related diseases and extends lifespan. Furthermore, he will test whether the removal of cancer cells experiencing senescence during the early stage of tumorigenesis impacts the development of mature tumors. Findings from this research will significantly impact the understanding of how senescent cells contribute to these processes more than any experimental approach developed to date. Having a better understanding of how the mechanisms of aging and cancer are related will lead to better intervention strategies that will maximize the number of years of healthy life, free from disease and tumors.

Dr. Baker’s mentor is Jan M. van Deursen, PhD.

Brookdale Leadership in Aging Fellow Class of 2011

Last updated 4/11