Jon Houseley

Jon Houseley`s group study the mechanisms by which cells learn to thrive in new environments.

From yeast caught by the wind and scattered across the landscape or plankton dwelling in increasingly acidified oceans to malignant cells facing modern targeted anticancer drugs, cells often face a stark choice – adapt or die.

He studies the mechanisms by which cells adapt to new environments. A major focus is the unexpected ability of cells to change specific parts of their genomes in response to particular environments. The ability to stimulate mutation at the right time and place is likely to allow organisms to evolve and adapt much faster than we might expect, and such mechanisms have clear medical importance.

Attempting adaptive change is dangerous for any organism, and must be tightly controlled within the life cycle. Jon Houseley`s group is starting to discover connections between adaptation and ageing; they have found that cellular ageing can facilitate adaptation, and conversely they see evidence that the drive to adapt to the environment seems to impact the ageing process.
Country: UK