Tashauna Felix, Ph.D.
Biological Sciences 2010
Area of Doctoral Study: Biological Sciences
Undergraduate Institute: Bennett College
Graduate Institute: University of Maryland, Baltimore County (M.S.)
Research Advisor: Jeffrey Leips, Ph.D.
Description of Research
Many studies have been directed toward understanding the genetic basis of life span and senescence. An important aspect of this problem that has received little attention is the influence of genes on age-related changes in particular traits that may contribute to differences in survival probabilities and thus ultimately produce differences in life span.
One trait that should have an important influence on survival probability is the immune response (the inability to fight infection may directly contribute to the decline in survival probability). Previous studies have identified that expression of immune function genes change with age. However, we know very little about the genetic basis of age-specific immune response or the extent that genetic variation influences age-related changes in this trait. In this project, we aim to i.) characterize genetic variation in age-specific immune response and ii.) identify genes responsible for these changes using quantitative trait loci mapping and microarray approaches.