huji Institute of Biochemistry, Food Science and Nutrition

Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment,
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Prof. Oren Froy

Prof. Oren Froy

Major Research Interests:

  1. Molecular analysis of the biological clock in mammals
  2. The relationship between the biological clock and nutrition
  3. Control of the biological clock over the innate immunity
  4. Regulation of mammalian defensin expression.
  5. Structure/function of mammalian defensins
  6. Defensin and Toll–like receptor expression in diabetes
  7. Molecular evolution of defensins

Project description:

Life span has been previously linked independently to both the circadian clock and caloric restriction (CR). However, the mechanisms by which CR modulates aging and longevity are virtually unknown. We suggest that three parameters, i.e., life span, the circadian clock, and caloric restriction, are interconnected. As the circadian clock controls many physiological and molecular systems including mitochondrial activity, we suggested that pronounced biological rhythms could constitute an important mediator of longevity in calorically restricted mice. The notion that pronounced biological rhythms could extend life span has never been proposed in aging and longevity of calorically restricted animals and we have evidence to support it.

Another topic that my lab is interested in is the relationship between the biological clock and innate immune system. Defensins (named cryptdins in mice) are expressed in Paneth cells of the small intestine and serve as the first line of defense against pathogens and their unregulated expression is linked to several lung and bowel diseases. My long–term academic goal is to study the molecular mechanisms underlying defensin expression and function in both healthy and ill animals/people and in response to specific nutrients. We will also try to understand the structural elements that confer antibacterial activity and the regulation of expression both in vivo and in tissue culture. In addition, the effect of the biological clock on the expression of defensins and Toll–like receptors will be studied. The data derived from the academic part may be of applied value in future development of novel antibacterial drugs or dietary treatments, which may in turn lead to the reduction of hospital stay, antibiotic use, and resistance acquired by infectious bacteria.

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