Gurkar Lab

Aditi Gurkar, PhD
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Division of Geriatric Medicine

The Gurkar lab aims to identify fundamental mechanisms of aging that can potentially lead to novel strategies to delay the rate of ‘biological’ aging.

Gurkar Lab

Lab Focus

Aging is inescapable, and unfortunately, the principal risk factor for a number of diseases including cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer disease (AD).

Our lab is particularly interested in the metabolic circuitry that drives biological aging. The lab is focused on three major areas:

    1. The role of lipid metabolism driven epigenetic axis in
    2. Understanding the role of DNA damage-induced cellular senescence in cardiovascular
    3. Integration -omic and causal inference to translate ‘aging’ from bedside to

Our work has uncovered that genotoxic stress triggers cellular responses that reprogram metabolism and precede cell-fate decisions that influence aging. Our long-term goal is to understand how DNA damage-associated metabolic changes impact aging. We aim to unlock the mysteries of aging at a molecular level, so we can uncover the Fountain of Youth and live healthier, fuller lives.

What question I’d like to answer

How can we best assess biological age and can we intervene to improve quality of life?

For more information: agresearchlab.com

Faculty Bio

Aditi received her undergraduate degree in biology from Florida International University and her PhD degree from Boston University School of Medicine. She completed post doctoral work at Massachusetts General Hospital / Harvard Medical School & Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard from 2010-2013 and then at Scripps Research Institute in Jupiter, Florida from 2013-2017. While working at Scripps Research Institute, Aditi was awarded a K99/R00 Pathway to Independence grant from the National Institute on Aging. After completion of the K99 phase, Aditi joined the faculty at the University of Pittsburgh as an Assistant Professor in the Aging Institute and the Division of Geriatric Medicine. Outside of the lab, Dr. Gurkar is involved in community outreach programs and loves to make science education fun for kids. She finds inspiration in the words of Albert Einstein, “Do not grow old, no matter how long you live. Never cease to stand like curious children before the great mystery into which we were born.”

Read more: Department of Medicine Faculty Profile

Selected Publications

Hamsanathan S, Anthonymuthu T, Mullett SJ, Wendell SG, Han S, Shinglot H, Siefken E, Sims AA, Sen P, Pepper HL, Snyder NW, Bayir H, Kagan V and Gurkar AU*. Persistent DNA damage rewires lipid metabolism and promotes histone hyperacetylation via MYS-1/Tip60. (in revision) (Biorxiv, 2021) DOI: https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.06.24.449832

Hamsanathan S, Anthonymuthu T, Prosser D, Lokshin A, Greenspan SL, Resnick NM, Perera S, Narasimhan G and Gurkar AU*. A Molecular Index for Biological Age identified from the Metabolome and Senescence-associated Secretome in Humans. (in revision ) (Research Square, 2020) DOI: 10.21203/rs.3.rs-62559/v1

Gurkar AU, Robinson AR, Cui Y, Li X, Allani SK, Webster A, Muravia M, Fallahi M, Weissbach H, Robbins PD, Wang Y, Kelley EE, Croix CMS, Niedernhofer LJ, Gill MS. Dysregulation of DAF-16/FOXO3A-mediated stress responses accelerates oxidative DNA damage induced aging. Redox Biol. 2018 Sep;18:191-199. doi: 10.1016/j.redox.2018.06.005. Epub 2018 Jun 19. PMID: 30031267; PMCID: PMC6076207.

Zhu Y, Tchkonia T, Pirtskhalava T, Gower AC, Ding H, Giorgadze N, Palmer AK, Ikeno Y, Hubbard GB, Lenburg M, O’Hara SP, LaRusso NF, Miller JD, Roos CM, Verzosa GC, LeBrasseur NK, Wren JD, Farr JN, Khosla S, Stout MB, McGowan SJ, Fuhrmann-Stroissnigg H, Gurkar AU, Zhao J, Colangelo D, Dorronsoro A, Ling YY, Barghouthy AS, Navarro DC, Sano T, Robbins PD, Niedernhofer LJ, Kirkland JL. The Achilles’ heel of senescent cells: from transcriptome to senolytic drugs. Aging Cell. 2015 Aug;14(4):644-58. doi: 10.1111/acel.12344. Epub 2015 Apr 22. PMID: 25754370; PMCID: PMC4531078.

Niedernhofer LJ, Gurkar AU, Wang Y, Vijg J, Hoeijmakers JHJ, Robbins PD. Nuclear Genomic Instability and Aging. Annu Rev Biochem. 2018 Jun 20;87:295-322. doi: 10.1146/annurev-biochem-062917-012239. PMID: 29925262.

Current Lab Members

Diana Davidek, MD, T32 Post-doctoral Fellow
Suhao Han, Ph.D., Lab manager
Megan Monroe, Technician
Anthony Aceto, Undergrad Researcher
Heather Makar, Undergrad Researcher (Remote)

Research Support