Day of Biology

Day of Biology, March 7, 2015

Part of the year-long celebration of Imagine Brown 250+, the Day of Biology featured the life sciences at Brown. The day’s events included colloquia on timely topics in the field, an exhibition of research at Brown, and a celebratory reception. One of the Colloquia explored the topic: Why Do We Age?  Members of the Center on the Biology of Aging and invited panelists discussed current research trends with moderator John Sedivy. View the "Why Do We Age?"  panelists below for a description of the presenters and their research interests. The entire event was captured and can be viewed using this link.


"Why Do We Age?" Colloquium

Faculty Moderator

  • John Sedivy, PhD, P’17, Hermon C. Bumpus Professor of Biology and Professor of Medical Science at Brown, studies the aging of mammalian species such as the mouse. His group is well known for their work on replicative senescence, a process of cellular aging. More recently, they have studied the epigenetic regulation of mobile genetic elements present in our genomes, and have identified a novel genetic alteration that extends the healthy life span of mice.


  • Ann Cheung, '02, PhD, Collaborative Programs Manager at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT, oversees interactions between Koch Institute researchers and their biopharmaceutical industry partners. Prior to this, she was the Senior Scientific Editor at the journal Cancer Cell. Ann received her PhD in Biology from MIT and her ScB in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Brown, where she was involved in one of the first expression profiling experiments on the MYC oncogene.
  • Wendy Cyr, PhD'06, is a Senior Scientist at Dicerna Pharmaceuticals Inc., Cambridge, MA. She received her PhD in Molecular Biology, Cell Biology and Biochemistry from Brown, and pursued postdoctoral studies at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. At Brown Wendy studied the role of reactive oxygen species in promoting cellular senescence. She currently works on the in vivo delivery and release of target-specific siRNAs for the treatment of undruggable diseases.
  • Utz Herbig, PhD, Associate Professor of Microbiology, Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics at the Rutgers New Jersey Medical School Cancer Center, studies aging and age-associated cancer development in humans. His research is focused on telomere initiated cellular senescence, an important tumor suppression mechanism that potentially can also promote aging. He started this research program at Brown where he trained as a postdoctoral fellow.
  • Jeffrey Hofmann, '08, PhD'14, MD’16, is currently pursuing medical education at the Brown Alpert Medical School. He obtained his ScB in Computational Biology and his PhD in Molecular Biology, Cell Biology and Biochemistry. For his thesis research Jeff studied the physiology and metabolic regulation of a genetically engineered, long-lived mouse strain.
  • Louis Lapierre, PhD, Assistant Professor of Molecular Biology, Cell Biology and Biochemistry, started his appointment at Brown in January 2015. He trained as a postdoctoral fellow at the Del E. Webb Center for Neuroscience, Aging and Stem Cell Research at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute. Louis studies an important cellular quality assurance process known as autophagy that recycles damaged molecules. He discovered a new longevity-associated, autophagy-modulating transcription factor, which is emerging as an attractive target for the development of autophagy-enhancing drugs.
  • Ashley Webb, PhD, Assistant Professor of Molecular Biology, Cell Biology and Biochemistry, joined the Brown faculty in January 2015. She trained as a postdoctoral fellow at the Paul F. Glenn Laboratories for the Biology of Aging at Stanford University. Ashley studies the process of aging in mammals, with a focus on understanding how and why stem cells in the brain decline in function with age. She recently identified a genome-wide network of genes that are important for the preservation of neural stem cells and formation of new neurons during aging.