Robin Cristofari's research group at the Institute of Biotechnology focuses on the way animals age, and on how food availability, obesity, lifestyle and environmental conditions can make them grow old faster. The main model used is the King penguin, a long-lived bird that evolved a tolerance both to acute obesity, and to extreme food deprivation. Through the King penguin model, the group aims at uncovering new mechanisms in healthy ageing and metabolically healthy obesity, in vertebrates in general and in humans in particular.
In this context, Robin’s primary research goal is to understand the crosstalk between molecular evolutionary processes (such as genome and epigenome changes) and ecological mechanisms (such as individual life-history and demographic processes) in penguins and humans. Through the development of non-invasive methods for monitoring of known-age penguins in the wild and at the zoo, and the deployment of high-throughput genome and epigenome sequencing technologies, his research explores how variations in individual lifestyle and collective environment can modulate the regulation of central processes such as DNA damage response, metabolism and senescence, through epigenetic regulation of gene expression.
Institute of Biotechnology, HiLIFE
P.O.Box 56 (Viikinkaari 5)
00014 University of Helsinki