Principal Investigator


Alaattin Kaya is an Assistant Professor  at Virginia Commonwealth University in the Department of Biology. Alaattin is a geneticist and biochemist, interested in many aspects of biology of aging from the evolutionary and molecular genetics and biochemical perspectives. Genes and environmental factors that strongly interact to modulate observed aging patterns among different organisms has been one of his major interests. He hopes to advance understanding of the biology of aging and the fundamental relationship between genetic variation, metabolism and longevity phenotypes.

Lab Members


Samantha McLean: Master student, Biology

Samantha is interested in uncovering novel interacting partners of the target of rapamycin complex 1 (TOR1), associated with stress resistance and lifespan regulation. She is aiming that these new interacting proteins may offer new targets for therapeutic interventions in human diseases caused by perturbed TOR1 signaling. 



Naci Oz: Ph.D. student, Integrative Life Sciences

Naci's research focus centered around (1) mechanisms by which cells decode alternative epigenetic information, when intracellular NAD is depleted, (2) identification of pathways regulating NAD homeostasis.



Charlotte Hartle: Research Technician, Biology Major

Charlotte attended VCU for her undergraduate degree in scientific illustration before returning to study biology. She is currently interested in identifying evolutionary conserved regulators of lifespan.


Undergraduate Researchers


Morrigan McKernan: Sophomore, Biology Major

Morrigan is an undergraduate at VCU majoring in Biology and studying to go into medicine. She is interested in intricate connections between genomic instability and mitochondrial dysfunction in regulation of aging.



Lesly Turcios-Hernandez: Junior, Biology Major, UROP fellow

Lesly is an undergraduate at VCU majoring in Biology and studying to go into medicine. She is a member of the yeast tetrad dissection team for Replicative Lifespan analysis. Her project involves in identification of conserved regulators of lifespan.