Xiaoyue Mei L&S Sciences
Investigating the Epigenetic Correlation Between Disease and Aging
DNA methylation (DNAme) refers to the addition of a methyl group to the cytosines of the CpG islands in the gene regulatory regions, which is involved in regulating transcription and chromatin structure, typically silencing the corresponding genetic locus. A lifetime of accumulated epigenetic changes has been proposed to contribute to the development of age-associated diseases. I aim to investigate the biological relevance of DNA methylation clocks via Elastic Net regression approaches and to develop a better model by which chronological age could be correlated with the disease through epigenetics. Meanwhile, DNAme changes with age in a direction that differs per individual, which suggests epigenetic variations to be higher among the elderly compared to younger individuals. I will examine the interindividual variation of DNAme using the output of DNAme arrays and annotate the age-variable CpGs to the candidate biological age-relevant genes/proteins based on the Conboy lab screens, by conventional and bio-orthogonal comparative proteomics on age- and disease-caused changes. The comparisons will be established upon control young, control old, and the longitudinal “old – rejuvenated omics (through approaches such as heterochronic blood exchanges and old plasma dilution).