email: Matt Piper


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Matt Piper's Lab                

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.

Our nutrition research

Organisms are faced with the complex problem of matching their changing nutrient requirements to a variable nutrient supply. To combat this problem, animals have acquired numerous foraging behaviours, food sensing mechanisms and nutrient feed backs. We are interested in what they are, how they work and how do imbalanced diets affect reproduction and health, especially late in life.

Interestingly, many of the molecular pathways for nutrient signalling are conserved between flies, mice and humans. We hope that by studying fruit flies in the lab we will understand more about nutrient related behaviours and health in humans.

We are interested in the following questions:
  • what are the molecular mechanisms of nutrient acquisition behaviours?
  • what nutrients are critical for these behaviours?
  • how do they change with age?
  • what are the long-term consequences of ingesting nutrients in proportions suitable for early life reproduction?
  • what are the causes of long-term health change with inappropriate nutrition?
  • can we find nutritional interventions to improve healthy ageing?