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 mTOR related genes, associated with stress resistance and lifespan regulation. 


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. When not in the lab, she can be found training in martial arts.


Charlotte Hartle: UROP Fellow, Biology Major

Charlotte attended VCU for her undergraduate degree in scientific illustration before returning to study biology. She has a fascination for insects and evolution and loves to learn new things. She is currently interested in identifying evolutionary conserved regulators of lifespan.

In her spare time she enjoys drawing and writing fantasy characters, observing and photographing insects, and playing D&D. She lives with her wife and two cats, Zuka and Tidbit.