Fruit flies, nutrition, adult health and lifespan
Food quantity and nutrient quality affect the behaviour, health and lifespan of all organisms. We use the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster to investigate the molecular mechanisms that mediate these effects, with the goal of understanding these processes in humans.
Due to recent discoveries, the research focuses on the role of dietary protein in shaping appetite, continuing health and length of life. A major focus of our work is on dietary restriction (DR or calorie restriction), which is an evolutionarily conserved intervention that extends healthy lifespan. I am interested in how the relative proportion of protein in an organism’s diet modifies this effect. Knowledge of these interactions will aid our understanding of the role of nutrient balance in adult health, appetite and longevity.