Ulysseus European University is launching COMPASS Insights, a series of webinars on key regional and local challenges.
These are part of the calendar of activities of “COMPASS: Leading Ulysseus to become a European University excellence model through Research and Innovation”, a Horizon 2020 project of Ulysseus and the flagship for its R&I agenda and strategy.
Organised by Ulysseus Innovation Hubs, these webinars will bring together experts from academia, industry and NGO’s, among other organisations to discuss key regional and local challenges.
Watch this webinar
About this webinar
Welcome to Meet the Ulysseus Post-docs – Ageing and Wellbeing talks! The Ageing and Well-being Innovation Hub in Nice has granted four post-doctoral fellowships in 2022. We are thrilled to introduce these fellows and provide them with an opportunity to showcase their work.
Our first speaker is Flavio Da Silva, who will present his work on identifying motor strategies during loaded and unloaded sit-to-stand movements as an indicator of muscle function loss for personalizing adapted physical activity in the elderly. He will discuss the importance of considering motor strategy when performing sit-to-stand movements to more accurately assess age-related declines in physical function.
Our second speaker is Bogdan Grigorash, who will discuss his research on liver rejuvenation by 4 factor mediated partial reprogramming in the absence of p16High senescent cells. He will present the findings of his study, which highlight the benefits of reducing the number of p16High senescent cells during 4 factor partial reprogramming and lay the basis for future studies of tissue rejuvenation.
Our third speaker is Giulia Allavena, who will talk about the role of cGAS-STING in the aging tumor microenvironment. Discover how telomerase-deficient zebrafish serve as a premature aging model, and how the cGAS-STING innate immunity pathway is a key regulator of the senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP). Learn about recent experiments that reveal cGAS-STING as required for the aging phenotype of telomerase mutants and the potential implications for cancer prevention.
Our final speaker is Claudia Zoller, who works in the field of behavioural health economics with a focus on fostering healthy behaviours. She will discuss her research on how to foster healthy behaviours in aging adults, with a particular focus on physical activity and diet. She will present the findings of her study, which aim to provide insights into the behavioural factors that can contribute to healthy aging.
Join us for an engaging and informative discussion on the latest research in ageing and wellbeing, presented by our talented post-doctoral fellows. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from these promising researchers.
Keywords: Frailty platform, Exercise-induced neuromuscular fatigue, Motor strategies, Kinematic and dynamic data, Physical function, Muscle power deficits, Senescent cells, Liver rejuvenation, Yamanaka reprogramming factors, Partial reprogramming, p16High senescent cells, Endothelial cells, Behavioral health economic
Speakers & Presentations
Flavio Da Silva
After obtaining my PhD in Human Movement Sciences at the LAMHESS laboratory of the Université Côte d’Azur, I started a post-doctoral fellowship at the frailty platform of the Nice Hospital. My research during my PhD focused on the effects of exercise-induced neuromuscular fatigue on kinesthetic acuity, but my current research focuses on the identification of motor strategies during sit-to-stand tasks in older adults
Motor strategy identification during loaded and unloaded sit-to-stand movements as an indicator of muscle function loss for personalizing adapted physical activity in the elderly
Context The loss of muscle power is the primary contributor to reduced physical function in the elderly population. Age-related decline in muscle power is often assessed by measuring the time required to perform sit-to-stand movements (STS), regardless of the motor strategy employed, which may provide insights into functional deficits (e.g., muscle power, balance). Additionally, STS are mostly performed without external load, while this may not sufficiently differentiate muscle power deficits.
Liver rejuvenation by 4 factor mediated partial reprogramming in the absence of p16High senescent cells
Accumulation of p16High senescent cells with age could severely compromise functional activity of different tissues and organs. Liver blood vasculature network formed by sinusoidal endothelial cells is one of the main sites associated with a build-up of p16High senescent cells with aging. Deterioration of blood vasculature functional activity increases susceptibility of organism to pathogens of different nature. Regrettably, selective elimination of p16High senescent cells in liver does not result in their replacement by non-senescent cells and thus does not restore functional activity of vasculature network in old animals. We speculated that a short treatment with Yamanaka reprogramming factors (Oct4, Sox2, Klf4, Myc) could activate the replacement mechanism and restore functional activity of blood vasculature network in old livers. To test this, we analyzed the effect of partial reprogramming in mice with the use of a p16-reporter mouse strain that allows to selectively label or to eliminate p16High senescent cells (Grosse et al., 2020). These mice were crossed with a mouse strain carrying 4 reprogramming factors under control of the doxycycline-inducible promoter. Starting at the age of 10 months, mice were subjected to expression of 4 factors for 3 days monthly and analyzed 8 months later. We found that expression of 4 factors induce broader liver senescence which correlated with the higher level of expression of DNA damage markers, H2AX and 53bp1. In turn, in mice with ablation of p16High senescent cells, expression of these markers was comparable to 2-month-old mice. Transcriptionally active chromatin labeled by H3K4Me3, that decreases with age, was maintained in senescence-deficient mice. Analysis of the markers of endothelial cells, Cd31 and Cd146, both are decreasing with age, showed restoration of blood vasculature network only in the livers of mice with genetic ablation of p16High senescent cells. Furthermore, elimination of senescent cells combined with partial reprogramming protected livers from fibrosis (based on SMA and Desmin staining). Our findings show the benefits of reducing the number of p16High senescent cells during 4 factor partial reprogramming and lay basis for future studies of tissue rejuvenation.
Claudia Zoller works in the field of behavioral health economics with a focus on fostering healthy behaviors. She’s especially interested in how to use behavioral tools to overcome biases in our decision making.
Healthy Youth Tyrol – Fostering physical activity in adolescence
Young adults and adolescents in OECD countries are especially at risk for indulging in unhealthy behavior with potential long-term consequences for their health. Most cardiovascular risk factors develop during childhood and adolescence with low physical activity being one of the leading causes. In Austria 77.8% of adolescents report insufficient levels of physical activity, calling for urgent interventions on the side of policy makers. The Healthy Youth Tyrol project tested two possible interventions to promote increased physical activity in adolescents aged 14 to 16. With the use of a commitment contract subjects were able to either set their own monthly step goal or decide on how many times a week they believe they will be able to reach 10,000 steps. Reaching the goal was incentivized with a small monetary reward. Economic games were used to measure the subjects’ preferences for risky behavior and their present bias – both preferences that have been shown to correlate with health behavior. In addition, subjects underwent a detailed medical examination with a team of physicians and answered questionnaires on their health behavior including physical activity, nutrition, and sleep patterns.
The role of cGAS-STING in the ageing tumor microenvironment
Cancer is an age-associated disease, caused by the accumulation of external and physiological factors. In the case of telomerase-deficient zebrafish, a premature aging model, having short telomeres in early life causes cancer to develop and progress more rapidly. The cGAS-STING innate immunity pathway was recently identified as a regulator of the senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP). Our recent experiments show that cGAS-STING required for the aging phenotype of telomerase mutants. Indeed, we observe that sting tert mutant zebrafish show less systemic inflammation and reduced spontaneous cancer as they age.
Both cancer and aging involve alterations in the microenvironment of surrounding tissues. Fibroblasts are key players in forming, remodelling, and altering the extracellular matrix (ECM). As tissues age, the number of fibroblasts decreases and their functional activity is also reduced. These changes ultimately lead to tissue damage and a higher risk of cancer.
We propose that the cGAS-STING in fibroblasts is required in the age-related inflammation responsible for the increase of cancer incidence with age. To test this hypothesis, we are studying the influence of young and old fibroblasts on tumor growth and invasiveness and examining the specific role that the cGAS-STING pathway plays in cancer development.
Innovation Hub of Ageing and well-being
Facilitator: John Rowell (Innovation Hub Officer) at Ulysseus Ageing and Well-being Innovation Hub, based at Université Côte d’Azur.
Day | Tuesday, 6 June 2022 at 12-2pm
Host | Ageing and Well-being Innovation Hub, Université Côte d’Azur
Language | The webinar will be in English
Collaboration opportunities | Interested in collaborating with the Ageing and Well-being Innovation Hub of Université Côte d’Azur? If so, please contact John Rowell, Innovation Hub Officer.
COMPASS: Leading Ulysseus to become a European University excellence model through Research and Innovation” is a Horizon 2020 project of Ulysseus and the flagship for its R&I agenda and strategy.
COMPASS has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the grant agreement No 101035809. The views and opinions expressed in this communication are the sole responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Commission.