My field of interest is human genetics and related disorders. I want to study aging as a potent carcinogen using yeast as a model. Aging is indeed a potent carcinogen. Somatic mutation theory states that cancer is a genetic disease. It is so because cancer cells proliferate at a rapid pace as a result of mutations in their genes they have accumulated in themselves over the course of their lifetime.
Hence the key points are Aging and Genetic instabilities that follows with it. I want to study yeast cells as a model as they are largely analogous to stem cells in humans.Many mammalian cell cycle genes have been identified and studied in yeast. Cell division cycle genes found in yeast regulate cell cycle in the same way as they do in humans. Yeast gives us the potential for not only understanding the principles of what's going on mechanistically but also which molecules might be relevant to the process of age-related cancer development. Surprising similarities occur between humans and simple Baker’s yeast with regard to the changes their genes undergo as they age.
Genetic instability shoots up dramatically in the middle to late stages of life in both.According to statistical data collected by the American Cancer Society, nearly 80% of cancers are diagnosed after the age of 55. The chances of getting cancer after middle age is 50% in men and 35% in women. And in yeast genetic instabilities shoot up by 200 folds after they hit late middle age.
All these facts when put together prove that as we age, our chances of getting cancer increases manifolds. Its like as if a switch of some kind is activated which creates genetic instability as the cells age.I have been interested in genetics and oncology since my high school days and all these discoveries evoked my interest to work on this topic. I am looking forward to work on yeast cells to study somatic mutations and cancer and who knows I might be the one among those who will find out how aging increases chances of getting cancer. If the molecular mechanics that trip the switch can be determined, it will be possible to develop drugs or gene replacement methods to prevent the switch from being thrown in the first place.
It will also help in understanding the role played by stem cells in developing cancer.