Researching the disparity in lifespan between the sexes
Could fruit flies help us understand why women tend to live longer than men? It is an intriguing but age-old question. Laura Pomatto is the first-ever graduate in the Biology of Aging Doctorate program of the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology and the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, in California. It is the first formal program of its kind in the U.S. Her main interest is in understanding why an organism loses its ability to cope with oxidative stress during aging. Laura’s work with fruit flies has revealed differences in the way male and females respond to oxidative stress. The research could help explain why women typically outlive men. In this in-depth interview Laura explains why fruit flies are a perfect genetic model for aging research; how the close bond she had with her grandparents inspired her to follow a career in the biology of aging; and why she believes scientists should work harder to explain their work to the general public.