The Demaria lab is interested to understand the function of a particular cell state, defined cellular senescence, in relation to aging. Our goal is to develop new interventions that target senescent cells to delay or prevent diseases associated with age.
Our group aims to dissect and isolate the molecular phenotypes of senescent cells induced by different stimuli, and to characterize how they can promote age-related pathology, including cancer. Cellular senescence is a complex tumor-suppressive mechanism induced by many different stresses characterized by growth arrest, changes in morphology and gene expression, and the secretion of inflammatory cytokines, proteases and other molecules that can alter the tissue microenvironment (a phenomenon termed the senescence-associated secretory phenotype or SASP). The Demaria lab has developed new tools to identify, isolate and characterize senescent cells in mice and human. and to study Using the skin as the reference tissue and a wide array of primary cells, mouse models and human biopsies, the lab will investigate the differences between beneficial and deleterious effects of cellular senescence with the long-term goal to develop new therapies for the prevention of age-related diseases and cancer.