The primary focus of Dr. Rabinovitch's laboratory research is on the use of genetically altered mouse models to examine the effects of cell signaling and reactive oxygen species (ROS) on lifespan and healthspan. Transgenic mice that overexpress catalase have been found to be protected against multiple health challenges, including cardiac aging, sarcopenia and some cancers. Similar benefits are conferred by treating mice with the SS-31 tetrapeptide. The interrelationships of mitochondrial ROS and mitochondrial damage with cell signaling pathways that mediate improved healthspan, including resistance to cardiac hypertrophy and failure, are thus of central interest to the laboratory. As the mTOR pathway is a strong candidate in this linkage, we are using transgenic mice with altered mTOR signaling to explore this relationship. In addition to physiological and biochemical assays, proteomic and genomic technologies are being actively utilized in laboratory studies.
A second area of lab interest is studies of neoplastic progression. These focus on precancerous human gastrointestinal diseases and the hope that a better understanding of these disease processes will yield improved management of individual patients and their cancer risk. In this work, telomere shortening and chromosomal instability, as measured by PCR, flow cytometry genomic analyses are being studied, particularly in patients with ulcerative colitis.