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GEN’s editorial staff interviews life science academic and biotech industry leaders on important research, technology, and trends. These podcasts will keep you informed with all the important details you need.

For more than 40 years, the prevailing explanation of why we get old has been tied to what is called oxidative stress. Now scientists at McGill University, in a study published in the February issue of PLoS Genetics, are calling the entire oxidative stress theory into question. Their results show that some organisms actually live longer when their ability to clean themselves of this toxic molecule buildup is partially disabled. Collectively, these molecules are known as reactive oxygen species.


During this week's podcast, Dr. Siegfried Hekimi, explains the oxidative stress concept and talks about why most of the evidence for this theory is circumstantial, meaning oxidative stress could just as easily be a result of aging as its cause. He discusses the main cellular defense mechanisms that protect against reactive oxygen species and provides the details of his team’s study that led them to conclude that the oxidative stress linkage to aging is highly questionable.
Siegfried Hekimi, Ph.D.

1975-1979 : Bachelor's degree (Diplôme): Biology, University of Geneva.

1984-1988 : Ph.D.: Department of Animal Biology, University of Geneva.
Advisor: Dr Michael O'Shea
Subject: Neuropeptide biosynthesis

1988-1991 : Post-doctoral fellow: Laboratory of Molecular Biology, MRC, Cambridge, England.
Advisor: Dr John J. White
Subject: Nervous system development in C. elegans

1991 : Professor at the Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, McGill University

2004 : Strathcona Professor of Zoology (Endowed Chair)

2007: Robert Archibald & Catherine Louise Campbell Chair in Developmental Biology (Endowed Chair)


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