Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

About the PNAS Member Editor
Name Cuervo, Ana Maria
Location Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Primary Field Medical Physiology and Metabolism
Secondary Field Cellular and Developmental Biology
 Election Citation
Cuervo is a leader in the study of autophagy ? how cells recycle their waste ? and the molecular biology of aging.
 Research Interests
Ana Maria Cuervo's group is interested in understanding how proteins and organelles are normally turned over by the lysosomal system (autophagy) and how malfunction of autophagy in aging is linked to age-related disorders including neurodegenerative and metabolic diseases. Her studies challenged the generally accepted idea that degradation in lysosomes was not selective and lead to the discovery of selective forms of autophagy including chaperone-mediated autophagy, endosomal microautophagy and lipophagy. Using biochemical and cell biology approaches they are performing the molecular dissection of these different autophagic pathways. To understand the physiological relevance of selective autophagy, they have used genetic mouse models and demonstrated the contribution of this process to regulation of cellular metabolism, quality control and selective remodeling of the proteome. They have also demonstrated disease-specific defects on the basis for autophagic failure in different neurodegenerative disorders. Cuervo identified that chaperone-mediated autophagy decreases with age and using regulatable transgenic mouse models they demonstrated that restoration of normal autophagy function in old organisms preserves organ function. Cuervo's work has contributed to the idea of proteostasis failure in the basis for aging and age-related diseases and that autophagy is a modulable process that can be targeted with therapeutic purposes and to extend health-span.

 
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