Associate Professor, Baylor College of Medicine
B.S., Peking University, 2001
Ph.D., University of Rochester, 2005
Postdoc, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, 2010
Systemic studies of endocrine and metabolic signaling in promoting healthy aging
Our research goals are to advance our knowledge on the fundamental mechanisms of aging, and also provide promising pharmaceutical targets to improve healthy aging. Biology of aging is composed of complex intrinsic deterioration on vital organs. Adipose tissue and the reproductive system are essential endocrine units, releasing adipokines, lipokines and steroid hormones to coordinate organism physiology. During aging, degenerative changes in these key endocrine organs are associated with various age-related diseases such as type II diabetes, central obesity, cancer, and cardiovascular disorders.
In Caenorhabditis elegans, we have discovered that germline stem cell proliferation exerts active effects on fat metabolism by modulating specific lipases. The lipase-mediated lipolysis reveals novel mechanisms to enhance somatic maintenance and promote longevity. Via a full genome RNA interference (RNAi) screen, we have identified novel factors that modulate age-associated reproductive senescence, many of which are key regulators of stress responses, fat metabolism and longevity. These results have revealed the endocrine crosstalk between germline stem cells and fat storage tissue, the novel role of lipid metabolism in the regulation of longevity, and the molecular mechanisms underlying reproductive aging.
Our current research interests are to characterize age-associated changes in endocrine organs, identify their genetic causes and investigate their impacts on healthspan and lifespan, with focuses on lipid metabolism, germline stem cell homeostasis and neuroendocrine regulation.
Ongoing projects include: (1) investigating the roles of lipid metabolism in the regulation of longevity, (2) studying the systemic control of reproductive homeostasis during aging, (3) analyzing lipid dynamics during aging using quantitative label-free imaging, and (4) identifying lipokines that promote longevity and retard metabolic dysfunction and reproductive senescence. These studies utilize lipidomics, proteomics, biochemical, microfluidic and label-free biochemical imaging techniques together with powerful worm genetic approaches.
Wang MC, Bohmann D, Jasper H (2003) JNK signaling confers tolerance to oxidative stress and extends lifespan in Drosophila. Developmental Cell 5:811-816.
Wang MC, Bohmann D, Jasper H (2005) JNK extends life span and limits growth by antagonizing cellular and organism-wide responses to insulin signaling. Cell 121:115-125.
Wang MC, O’Rourke EJ, Ruvkun G (2008) Fat metabolism links germline stem cells and longevity in C. elegans. Science 322:957-960.
Folick A, Min W, Wang MC (2011) Label-free imaging of lipid dynamics using Coherent Anti-stokes Raman Scattering (CARS) and Stimulated Raman Scattering (SRS) microscopy. Current Opinion in Genetics and Development 21:585-590.
Wang MC, Min W, Freudiger CW, Ruvkun G, Xie XS (2011) RNAi screening for fat regulatory genes with SRS microscopy. Nature Methods 8:135-138.
Meng Wang, Ph.D.
Baylor College of Medicine
Huffington Center on Aging
One Baylor Plaza, MS BCM230
Houston, Texas 77030, U.S.A.
Tel: (713) 798-1566
Fax: (713) 798-4161