Eyleen Jorgelina O'Rourke

Primary Appointment

  • Assistant Professor, Cell Biology

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Research Interest(s)

Obesity and Aging

Research Description

All the way up to the 20th century, the human genome has been optimized to survive in environments characterized by fluctuations between periods of feast and famine. These survivor-genomes clash with an environment where calorie-rich foods are readily available. Based on the premise that the gene networks that allow animals to endure starvation are under strong selective pressure and consequently conserved, we use a combination of cutting-edge functional genomics, biochemical, cell biology, genetic, and physiological approaches to identify and characterize the conserved gene networks that allow the animal model Caenorhabditis elegans to adapt to changes in food availability. Ultimately, our research would contribute to better understanding how dysfunctional gene networks affect or cause diseases like obesity and diabetes, and accelerate aging.

Selected Publications

  • Wählby C, Conery A, Bray M, Kamentsky L, Larkins-Ford J, Sokolnicki K, Veneskey M, Michaels K, Carpenter A, O'Rourke E. High- and low-throughput scoring of fat mass and body fat distribution in C. elegans. Methods (San Diego, Calif.). 2014;68(3): 492-9. PMID: 24784529 | PMCID: PMC4112171
  • O'Rourke E, Kuballa P, Xavier R, Ruvkun G. ω-6 Polyunsaturated fatty acids extend life span through the activation of autophagy. Genes & development. 2013;27(4): 429-40. PMID: 23392608 | PMCID: PMC3589559
  • O'Rourke E, Ruvkun G. MXL-3 and HLH-30 transcriptionally link lipolysis and autophagy to nutrient availability. Nature cell biology. 2013;15(6): 668-76. PMID: 23604316 | PMCID: PMC3723461
  • Wählby C, Kamentsky L, Liu Z, Riklin-Raviv T, Conery A, O'Rourke E, Sokolnicki K, Visvikis O, Ljosa V, Irazoqui J, Golland P, Ruvkun G, Ausubel F, Carpenter A. An image analysis toolbox for high-throughput C. elegans assays. Nature methods. 2012;9(7): 714-6. PMID: 22522656 | PMCID: PMC3433711
  • O'Rourke E, Soukas A, Carr C, Ruvkun G. C. elegans major fats are stored in vesicles distinct from lysosome-related organelles. Cell metabolism. 2009;10(5): 430-5. PMID: 19883620 | PMCID: PMC2921818
  • Wang M, O'Rourke E, Ruvkun G. Fat metabolism links germline stem cells and longevity in C. elegans. Science (New York, N.Y.). 2008;322(5903): 957-60. PMID: 18988854 | PMCID: PMC2760269