What We Can Learn from Insects
What can we learn from insects?
But first, let's talk about the UC Seminar Network.
It's a pilot program that involves Webcasting scientific seminars on University of California campuses. Scientists and other interested folks from all over California--indeed the nation and the world--can tune in live.
The seminars are as close as your computer. You log in, listen, and at the end of the seminar, you can ask questions.
And the seminars are free.
It all started in Feburary when entomologist James R. Carey, professor of Entomology at UC Davis and then chair of the UC Systemwide Academic Senate University Committee on Research Policy, launched Webinars in the Department of Entomology as part of the pilot UC Seminar Network.
Other departments at UC Davis soon joined in, and now UC Berkeley and UC Santa Cruz are on board. Long-range plans call for participation on all 10 campuses.
Fittingly, the next Webinar presentation at UC Davis features James R. Carey.
Carey, the director of a federally funded program on lifespan and aging that has just received a $3.4 million grant renewal from the National Institute on Aging, will speak from 12:10 to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 21 in 122 Briggs Hall.
He will offer his insights into lifespan, aging and death from his insect studies, including research on Mediterranean fruit flies in Hawaii, Mexico and Greece and on butterflies in Uganda. Titled “Titled “Demography of the Finitude: Insights into Lifespan, Aging and Death from Insect Studies,” the Webinar can be accessed by clicking this link or accessing the link from the UC Davis Department of Entomology home page.
“One of the paradoxes of aging science is that whereas much is known about the nature of aging, little is known about the nature of lifespan,” said Carey, who has researched aging and lifespan for nearly 30 years. “For example, why do mice live only a few years while humans are capable of living 80 or more years?”
The grant is a two-year extension of his ongoing program, Biodemographic Determinants of Lifespan, a National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Aging-funded program involving scientists from UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara, UC Berkeley, Stanford and seven other academic institutions in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Greece.
The scientists study aging in nematodes, honey bees, fruit flies, red deer, soay sheep and humans, and develop mathematical models targeting the evolutionary ecology of aging and lifespan.
The Biodemographic Determinants of Lifespan has been funded since 2003.
“Dr. Carey has expanded the boundaries of entomology with his research,” said Michael Parrella, professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology. “Just as we have learned a great deal about human genetics by studying Drosophila fruit flies, Jim is expanding our overall understanding of mortality and lifespans by using various insects as model systems. He is known worldwide as one of the pioneers of biodemography, an emerging field in the interzone between biology and demography. His research is innovative and unique, and is one of many research programs that makes the Department of Entomology so strong.”
The broad aim of the research, Carey said, “is to develop an evolutionary demography of lifespan. All of the findings will be directly or indirectly relevant to an understanding of human aging and lifespan.”
And what do insect studies tell us about human aging and lifespan? Read more about his work here.And then tune in on Wednesday, Oct. 21. It's open to all interested persons.
If you miss it, it will be archived permanently on the Department of Entomology seminar page. This Web page also includes the list of past and upcoming Webinars.
The fall Webinars at the UC Davis Department of Entomology continue through Dec. 7.
James R. Carey