Prof David Gems

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Personal Profile

Name: David Gems Email: david.gems@ucl.ac.uk
Title: Prof Tel: 020 7679 4381
Department: Genetics, Evolution & Environment Fax: 020 7679 7096
Position: Professor of Biogerontology Address: Institute of Healthy Ageing, Darwin Building, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT
Research Domain: Ageing, Basic Life Sciences, Neuroscience, Populations & Lifelong Health Web Page: Personal Web Page

Profile

Research Description

Understanding the biology of longevity and ageing using a nematode model While developmental genetics has been an area of intensive study for many years, investigation of the role of genes in determining longevity and ageing only recently began. An ideal model organism in which to study ageing is the free-living nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. This species has well-developed genetics, its 97,000,000 base pair genome is fully sequenced, and its life span is a mere 2-3 weeks. Most importantly, numerous mutations have been identified in C. elegans which alter the rate of ageing, with some mutants living more than ten times as long as wild-type worms. It is hoped that by understanding ageing in a simple animal like C. elegans we will be able to unravel the mystery of human ageing, which increases risk of a wide range of diseases, from cardiovascular disease and type II diabetes, to Alzheimer's disease and cancer. A major focus of current work in this laboratory is understanding the genes and biochemical processes by which reduced insulin/IGF-1 signalling and dietary restriction increase lifespan. Other interests include sex differences in the biology of ageing, evolutionary conservation of mechanisms of ageing, and bioethical implications of ageing research. Our work is funded by the BBSRC, the European Union and the Wellcome Trust.

Research Activities

Cell signalling

Genetics of ageing and age-related disease in Caenorhabditis elegans

Mechanisms regulating lymphocyte differentiation i

Regulation and targeting of the hypoxia inducible factor (HIF) pathway

The central nervous system regulation of energy homeostasis

Education Description

UCL Collaborators

Prof Barbara Pedley; Prof Dame Linda Partridge; Dr Eugene Schuster; Prof John Greenwood; Dr Paola Pedarzani; Prof Tony Segal; Prof Mala Maini; Prof Ivan Gout; Prof Nigel Klein; Dr Daniel Pearce; Prof Arne Akbar; Prof Dominic Withers; Prof Patrick Maxwell; Prof Michael Duchen; Prof Steve Wilson; Prof Chris Boshoff; Prof Stephen Caddick; Dr Babis Rallis; Dr Lazaros Foukas; Dr Rachel Batterham; Prof Paul Driscoll

External Collaborators

Publications

    2013

    • Coburn C, Gems D (2013). The mysterious case of the C. elegans gut granule: death fluorescence, anthranilic acid and the kynurenine pathway.. Front Genet, 4, 151 - . doi:10.3389/fgene.2013.00151
    • Coburn C, Allman E, Mahanti P, Benedetto A, Cabreiro F, Pincus Z, Matthijssens F, Araiz C, Mandel A, Vlachos M, Edwards SA, Fischer G, Davidson A, Pryor RE, Stevens A, Slack FJ, Tavernarakis N, Braeckman BP, Schroeder FC, Nehrke K, Gems D (2013). Anthranilate Fluorescence Marks a Calcium-Propagated Necrotic Wave That Promotes Organismal Death in C. elegans.. PLoS Biol, 11(7), e1001613 - . doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001613

    2012

    • Ackerman D, Gems D (2012). Insulin/IGF-1 and hypoxia signaling act in concert to regulate iron homeostasis in C. elegans. PLoS Genetics, 8(3), - . doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1002498
    • Gems D, de la Guardia Y (2012). Beyond reactive oxygen species: Alternative perspectives on ageing in C. elegans. Antioxidants and Redox Signaling, Sep 24. [Epub ahead of print], - .
    • Valentini S, Cabreiro F, Ackerman D, Alam M, Kay C, Gems D (2012). Iron catalyzed generation of reactive oxygen species does not contribute to C. elegans aging. Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, 133, 282 - 290.
    • Valentini S, Cabreiro F, Ackerman D, Alam MM, Kunze MB, Kay CW, Gems D (2012). Manipulation of in vivo iron levels can alter resistance to oxidative stress without affecting ageing in the nematode C. elegans.. Mech Ageing Dev, 133(5), 282 - 290. doi:10.1016/j.mad.2012.03.003

    2011

    • Gems D (2011). Tragedy and delight: The ethics of decelerated ageing. Philos. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B Biol. Sci., 366, 108 - 112.
    • Gems D (2011). The problem of aging: To treat, or not to treat?. American Scientist, 99, 278 - 280.
    • Cabreiro F, Ackerman D, Doonan R, Araiz C, Back P, Papp D, Braeckman BP, Gems D (2011). Increased life span from overexpression of superoxide dismutase in Caenorhabditis elegans is not caused by decreased oxidative damage.. Free Radic Biol Med, 51(8), 1575 - 1582. doi:10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2011.07.020
    • Burnett C, Valentini S, Cabreiro F, Goss M, Somogyvari M, Piper MD, Hoddinott M, Sutphin GL, Leko V, McElwee JJ, Vazquez-Manrique RP, Orfila AM, Ackerman D, Au C, Vinti G, Riesen M, Howard K, Neri C, Bedalov A, Kaeberlein M, Soti C, Partridge L, Gems D (2011). Absence of effects of Sir2 over-expression on lifespan in C. elegans and Drosophila. Nature, 477, 482 - 485.
    • Cocheme HM, Quin C, McQuaker SJ, Cabreiro F, Logan A, Prime TA, Abakumova I, Patel JV, Fearnley IM, James AM, Porteous CM, Smith RAJ, Saeed S, Carre J, Singer M, Gems D, Partridge L, Hartley RC, Murphy MP (2011). In vivo measurement of mitochondrial H2O2 using a ratiometric mass spectrometry probe shows an increase with aging that does not determine lifespan. Cell Metabolism, 13, 340 - 350.

    2010

    • Gems D (2010). Wenn Mao noch lebte - Vom Segen und Unsinn de Alterns. In Hülswitt T (Ed.), Werden wir ewig leben? (pp. 81 - 99). : Suhrkamp.
    • Schuster E, McElwee JJ, Tullett JM, Doonan R, Matthijssens F, Reece-Hoyes JS, Vanfleteren JR, Thornton JM, Gems D (2010). DamID in C. elegans reveals longevity-associated targets of DAF-16/FoxO. Molecular Systems Biology, 6, 399 - .
    • Gems D (2010). Treating aging: Progress towards dietary restriction mimetics. F1000 Biology Reports, 2, 76 - .

    2009

    • Thompson FJ, Barker GLA, Nolan T, Gems DV, M E (2009). Transcript profiles of long- and short-lived adults implicate protein synthesis as a determinant of evolved differences in ageing in the nematode Strongyloides ratti.. Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, 130(3), 167 - 172. doi:10.1016/j.mad.2008.11.001
    • Toivonen JM, Gems D, Partridge L (2009). Longevity of Indy mutant Drosophila not attributable to Indy mutation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 106(21), E53 - .
    • Gems D (2009). Eine Revolution de Alterns: die neue Biogerontologie und ihre Implikationen. In Knell S, Weber M (Ed.), Länger leben? Philosophische und biowissenschaftliche Perspektiven (pp. 25 - 45). : Suhrkamp.
    • Gems D, Doonan R (2009). Antioxidant defense and aging in C. elegans: Is the oxidative damage theory of aging wrong?. Cell Cycle, 8(11), 1 - 7.
    • Gems D (2009). Aging and oxidants in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. SEB Experimental Biology Series, 62, 31 - 56.
    • Selman C, Tullet JMA, Wieser D, Irvine E, Lingard SJ, Choudhury AI, Claret M, Al-Qassab H, Carmignac D, Ramadani F, Woods A, Robinson ICA, Schuster E, Batterham RL, Kozma SC, Thomas G, Carling D, Okkenhaug K, Thornton JM, Partridge L, Gems D, Withers DJ (2009). Ribosomal protein S6 kinase 1 signaling regulates mammalian lifespan. Science, 326(5949), 140 - 144. doi:10.1126/science.1177221
    • Gems D (2009). Ist mehr Leben stets besser? Die moderne Alternsbiologie under der Sinn des Lebens. In Schone-Seifert B, Talbot D (Ed.), Enhancement: Die ethische Debatte (pp. 365 - 385). : Mentis Verlag.

    2008

    • Lenaerts I, Walker GA, Van Hoorebeke L, Gems D, Vanfleteren JR (2008). Dietary restriction of Caenorhabditis elegans by axenic culture reflects nutritional requirement for constituents provided by metabolically active microbes. Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological and Medical Sciences, 63(3), 242 - 252.
    • Selman C, Lingard S, Gems D, Partridge L, Withers DJ (2008). Comment on "Brain IRS2 signaling coordinates life span and nutrient homeostasis". Science, 320(5879), 1012 - .
    • Gems D, Partridge L (2008). Stress-response hormesis and aging: "that which does not kill us makes us stronger". Cell Metabolism, 7(3), 200 - 203.
    • Gems DD, R (2008). Oxidative stress and aging in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. In Miwa S, Beckman FM, F (Ed.), Oxidative Stress in Aging (pp. 81 - 110). : Humana Press.
    • Selman C, Lingard S, Choudhury AI, Batterham RL, Claret M, Clements M, Ramadani F, Okkenhaug K, Schuster E, Blanc E, Piper MD, Al-Qassab H, Speakman JR, Carmignac D, Robinson IC, Thornton JM, Gems D, Partridge L, Withers DJ (2008). Evidence for lifespan extension and delayed age-related biomarkers in insulin receptor substrate 1 null mice. The FASEB Journal, 22(3), 807 - 818.
    • Patel DS, Garza-Garcia A, Nanji M, McElwee JJ, Ackerman D, Driscoll PC, Gems D (2008). Clustering of genetically defined allele classes in the Caenorhabditis elegans DAF-2 insulin/IGF-1 receptor.. Genetics, 178(2), 931 - 946. doi:10.1534/genetics.107.070813
    • Doonan R, McElwee JJ, Matthijssens F, Walker GA, Houthoofd K, Back P, Matscheski A, Vanfleteren JR, Gems D (2008). Against the oxidative damage theory of aging: Superoxide dismutases protect against oxidative stress but have little or no effect on lifespan in C. elegans.. Genes and Development, 22(23), 3236 - 3241. doi:10.1101/gad.504808

    2007

    • Houthoofd KG, D Johnson TEV, J R (2007). ietary restriction in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Interdisciplinary Topics in Gerontology, 35, 98 - 114.
    • McElwee JJ, Schuster E, Blanc E, Piper MD, Thomas JH, Patel DS, Selman C, Withers DJ, Thornton JM, Partridge L, Gems DH (2007). Evolutionarily conservation of regulated longevity assurance mechanisms. Genome Biology, 8(7), R132 - . doi:10.1186/gb-2007-8-7-r132
    • Toivonen JMW, G A Martinez-Diaz PB, I Driege YJ, H T Gems DP, L (2007). No influence of Indy on lifespan in Drosophila after correction for genetic and cytoplasmic background effects. PLoS Genetics, 3(6), e95 - .
    • McCulloch DG, D (2007). Sex-specific effects of the DAF-12 steroid receptor on aging in Caenorhabditis elegans. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1119, 253 - 259.
    • Gems D (2007). Long-lived dwarf mice: are bile acids a longevity signal?. Aging Cell, 6(4), 453 - 470.
    • Garza-Garcia A, Patel DS, Gems D, Driscoll PC (2007). RILM: a web-based resource to aid comparative and functional analysis of the insulin and IGF-1 receptor family.. Human Mutation, 28(7), 660 - 668. doi:10.1002/humu.20491
    • Partridge LG, D (2007). Benchmarks for ageing studies. Nature, 450(7167), 165 - 167.
    • Bass TMW, D Houthoofd KG, D Partridge L (2007). Effects of resveratrol on lifespan in Drosophila melanogaster and Caenorhabditis elegans. Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, 128(10), 546 - 552.

    2006

    • Partridge LG, D (2006). Beyond the evolutionary theory of ageing, from functional genomics to evo-gero.. TREE, 21, 334 - 340.
    • McElwee JJS, E Blanc ET, J Gems D (2006). Diapause-associated metabolic traits reiterated in long-lived daf-2 mutants in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, 127(5), 458 - 472.
    • Vellai T, McCulloch D, Gems D, Kovacs AL (2006). Effects of Sex and Insulin/Insulin-Like Growth Factor-1 Signaling on Performance in an Associative Learning Paradigm in Caenorhabditis elegans. Genetics, 174(1), 309 - 316.
    • Weinkove DH, J R Gems DD, N (2006). Long-term starvation and ageing induce AGE-1/PI 3-kinase-dependent translocation of DAF-16/FOXO to the cytoplasm. BMC Biology, 3(4), 1 - .
    • Gardner MP, Gems D, Viney ME (2006). Extraordinary plasticity in aging in Strongyloides ratti implies a gene-regulatory mechanism of lifespan evolution. Aging Cell, 5(4), 315 - 323.
    • Selman C, Kerrison ND, Cooray A, Piper MD, Lingard SJ, Barton RH, Schuster EF, Blanc E, Gems D, Nicholson JK, Thornton JM, Partridge L, Withers DJ (2006). Coordinated multitissue transcriptional and plasma metabonomic profiles following acute caloric restriction in mice. Physiol Genomics, 27(3), 187 - 200.

    2005

    • Brakefield PM, Gems D, Cowen T, Christensen K, Grubeck-Loebenstein B, Keller L, Oeppen J, Rodriguez-Pena A, Stazi MA, Tatar M, Westendorp RG (2005). What are the effects of maternal and pre-adult environments on ageing in humans, and are there lessons from animal models?. Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, 126(3), 431 - 438.
    • Walker GH, K Vanfleteren JRG, D (2005). Dietary restriction in C. elegans: from rate-of-living effects to nutrient sensing pathways. Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, 126(9), 929 - 937.
    • Gems DM, J J (2005). Broad spectrum detoxification: the major longevity assurance process regulated by insulin/IGF-1 signaling?. Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, 126(3), 381 - 387.
    • Nanji M, Hopper NA, Gems D (2005). LET-60 RAS modulates effects of insulin/IGF-1 signaling on development and aging in Caenorhabditis elegans. Aging Cell, 4(5), 235 - 245. doi:10.1111/j.1474-9726.2005.00166.x
    • Partridge L, Gems D, Withers DJ (2005). Sex and death: What's the connection?. Cell, 120, 461 - 472.

    2004

    • McElwee JJ, Schuster E, Blanc E, Thomas JH, Gems DH (2004). Shared transcriptional signature in C. elegans dauer larvae and long-lived daf-2 mutant adults implicates detoxification system in longevity assurance. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 279, 44533 - 44543. doi:10.1074/jbc.M406207200
    • Keaney M, Matthijssens F, Sharpe M, Vanfleteren J, Gems DH (2004). Superoxide dismutase mimetics elevate superoxide dismutase activity in vivo but do not retard aging in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Free Radical Biology and Medicine, 37(2), 239 - 250. doi:10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2004.04.005
    • Gardner MPG, D Viney ME (2004). Aging in a very short-lived nematode. Experimental Gerontology, 39(9), 1267 - 1276.
    • Hulbert AJ, Clancy DJ, Mair W, Braeckman BP, Gems D, Partridge L (2004). Metabolic rate is not reduced by dietary-restriction or by lowered insulin/IGF-1 signalling and is not correlated with individual lifespan in Drosophila melanogaster. Experimental Gerontology, 39(8), 1137 - 1143.

    2003

    • McCulloch D, Gems D (2003). Body size, insulin/IGF signaling and aging in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Experimental Gerontology, 38, 129 - 136.
    • Gems D (2003). Is more life always better? The new biology of aging and the meaning of life. Hastings Center Report, 33, 31 - 39.
    • Gems D (2003). Geneticist. In Turney EJ (Ed.), Science, Not Art (pp. 114 - 127). : Gulbenkian Foundation.
    • Keaney M, Gems D (2003). No increase in life span in Caenorhabditis elegans upon treatment with the superoxide dismutase mimetic EUK-8. Free Radical Biology and Medicine, 34, 277 - 282.
    • Gems D, McElwee JJ (2003). Microarraying mortality. Nature, 424, 259 - 260.
    • McCulloch D, Gems D (2003). Evolution of male longevity bias in nematodes. Aging Cell, 2, 165 - 173.

    2002

    • Gems D, Pletcher S, Partridge L (2002). Interpreting interactions between treatments that slow ageing. Aging Cell, 1, 1 - 9.
    • Partridge L, Gems D (2002). The evolution of longevity. Current Biology, 12, 0 - 0.
    • Clancy DJ, Gems D, Hafen E, Leevers SJ, Partridge L (2002). Dietary restriction in long lived dwarf flies. Science, 296, 319 - 319. doi:10.1126/science.1069366
    • Partridge L, Gems D (2002). A lethal side effect. Nature, 418, 921 - 921.
    • Gems D (2002). Aging. In Lee DL (Ed.), The biology of nematodes (pp. - ). : Harwood Accademic Press.
    • Partridge L, Gems D (2002). Mechanisms of aging: public or private?. Nature Reviews Genetics, 3, 165 - 175.

    2001

    • Gems D (2001). Genes and ageing: beyond good and evil in the senescent cell. Trends in Biotechnology, 19(3), 83 - 84.
    • Gems D, Partridge L (2001). Insulin/IGF signalling and ageing: seeing the bigger picture. Current Opinion in Genetics and Development, 11, 287 - 292.
    • Gems D (2001). Yeast longevity gene goes public. Nature, 410, 154 - 155.
    • Clancy DJ, Gems D, Harshman LG, Oldham S, Stocker H, Hafen E, Leevers SJ, Partridge L (2001). Extension of life-span by loss of CHICO, a Drosophila insulin receptor substrate protein. Science, 202, 104 - 106. doi:10.1126/science.1057991

    2000

    • Gems D, Riddle DL (2000). Genetic, behavioural and environmental determinants of male longevity in Caenorhabditis elegans. Genetics, 154, 1597 - 1610.
    • Gems D, Riddle DL (2000). Defining wild-type life span in Caenorhabditis elegans. Journal of Gerontology, (55), - .
    • Gems D (2000). Ageing in free-living and parasitic nematodes. Biogerontology, 1, 289 - 307.
    • Gems D (2000). An integrated theory of ageing in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Journal of Anatomy, 197, 521 - 528.

    1999

    • Gems D (1999). Nematode ageing: putting metabolic theories to the test. Current Biology, 9, - .
    • Gems D (1999). Politically correct eugenics. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics, 20, 199 - 211.
    • Gems D (1999). PIHKAL, TIHKAL. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics, 20, 477 - 479.
    • Gems D (1999). Enhancing human traits: ethical and social implications. Nature, 396, 222 - 223.

    1998

    • Gems D, Sutton AJ, Sundermeyer ML, Albert PS, King KV, Edgley ML, Larsen PL, Riddle DL (1998). Two pleiotropic classes of daf-2 mutation affect larval arrest, reproduction and longevity in Caenorhabditis elegans. Genetics, 150, 129 - 155.

    1996

    • Aleksenko A, Gems D, Clutterbuck AJ (1996). Multiple copies of MATE elements support autonomous plasmid replication in Aspergillus nidulans. Molecular Microbiology, 20, 427 - 434.
    • Gems D, Riddle DL (1996). Longevity in Caenorhabditis elegans reduced by mating but not gamete production. Nature, 379, 723 - 725.
    • Gems D, Maizels RM (1996). An abundantly expressed mucin-like protein from Toxocara canis infective larvae: the precursor of the TES-120 surface coat glycoproteins. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 93, 1665 - 1670.

    1995

    • Gems D, Ferguson CJ, Robertson BD, Nievos R, Page AP, Blaxter ML, Maizels RM (1995). An abundant, trans-spliced mRNA from Toxocara canis infective larvae encodes 26-kDa cuticular protein with homology to phosphatidylethanolamine binding proteins. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 270, 18517 - 18522.

    1994

    • Gems D, Aleksenko A, Belenky L, Robertson S, Vinetski Y, Clutterbuck AJ (1994). An 'instant gene bank' method for gene cloning by complementation. Molecular and General Genetics, 242, 467 - 471.
    • Gems D, Clutterbuck AJ (1994). Enhancers of medA conidiation mutants of Aspergillus nidulans. Genetics, 137, 79 - 85.

    1993

    • Maizels RM, Blaxter ML, Cookson E, Gems D, Page AP (1993). Forms and functions of nematode surfaces. Journal of Cellular Biochemistry, S17C, 94 - .
    • Maizels RM, Gems D, Page AP (1993). Synthesis and secretion of TES antigens from Toxocara canis infective larvae. In (Ed.), Toxocara and Toxocariasis: Clinical, Epidemiological and Molecular Perspectives (pp. 16.1 - 16.10). : .
    • MAIZELS R, GEMS D, PAGE A (1993). Synthesis and secretion of TES antigens from Toxocara canis infective larvae.
    • Clutterbuck AJ, Gems D, Robertson S (1993). The ARp1 replicating plasmid. In (Ed.), BMS/FEMS Symposium on Aspergillus (pp. - ). : .
    • Clutterbuck AJ, Gems D, Robertson S (1993). Uses and analyses of the ARp1 Aspergillus replicating plasmid. In Baltz RH, Hegerman GD, Skatrud PL (Ed.), Industrial Microorganisms: Basic and Applied Molecular Genetics (pp. 27 - 30). : .
    • Gems D, Clutterbuck AJ (1993). Cotransformation with autonomously replicating helper plasmids facilitates gene cloning from an Aspergillus nidulans gene library. Current Genetics, 24, 520 - 524.

    1991

    • Gems D, Johnstone IL, Clutterbuck AJ (1991). An autonomously replicating plasmid transforms Aspergillus nidulans at high frequency. Gene, 98, 61 - 67.

    • Murphy MP, Holmgren A, Larsson NG, Halliwell B, Chang CJ, Kalyanaraman B, Rhee SG, Thornalley PJ, Partridge L, Gems D, Nyström T, Belousov V, Schumacker PT, Winterbourn CC (). Unravelling the biological roles of reactive oxygen species. Cell Metabolism, 13, 361 - 366.