AGEING | Meet the Researcher: Francesca Baggio | Ep #5 | AXA Research Fund

AGEING | Meet the Researcher: Francesca Baggio | Ep #5 | AXA Research Fund

So, Francesca, tell me all about
your research. My research studies some mechanisms underlying one of the most
basic aspects of our lives, which is how well we age. And the hope is that
understanding those mechanisms can help develop treatments to slow down
the ageing process itself, and also postpone
the onset of age-related diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s… So, where are we? We are in one of the rooms
where we store our fruit flies. Why flies? The mitochondrial DNA
of flies and of humans is identical, meaning that the research on flies can have implications
on the human health. Okay, Francesca. What are we doing? It’s all about mitochondria,
our very own power generators. So, the mitochondria are in
pretty much every cell in our body, and, like Francesca says, they’re kind of like power plants – they convert the sugar in what we eat into the energy that we use
to fuel anything we do. How are mitochondria
related to ageing? Our bodies
continuously make new cells containing mitochondria, and their new copies
of mitochondrial DNA. So during this process, that is called the “replication”, mistakes occur, mutations… and these mutations accumulate
with increasing age. If, as we age,
we get more and more mistakes in the mitochondrial DNA, does that mean that
they can make less energy? That’s correct. And that would make us
more prone to diseases. So what inspired you to do this work? The hope that one day my research will contribute to finding treatments for improving human health and human quality of life. Best of luck, thank you so much. Thank you very much.

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