Not everyone understands the role of molecules in the body or their chemicals effects on physical and mental health. Many people are unaware of what happens inside of their body until something goes wrong and they require medical treatment. The treatments that we rely on are the result of years of study and research conducted by doctors and scientists. Medical breakthroughs don’t just happen overnight – years of research and study can be spent on a single disease. Gizem Donmez studies the role of molecules in the brain as they relate to diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
Gizem Donmez is an assistant professor at Tufts University. She is part of the Department of Neuroscience for the university’s school of medicine. Prior to joining the university in the fall of 2011, Gizem Donmez was already studying neurodegenerative disease at MIT. At MIT, from 2007 to 2011, she conducted her postdoctoral fellowship. Gizem Donmez’s research was focused on sirtuins and the role they played in neurodegenerative disease.
In mammals, Gizem Donmez explains, there are seven sirtuins. Sirtuins play important roles in age-related diseases in humans and other higher organisms. To conduct her research on the role they play, Gizem Donmez’s lab researches the role of sirtuins in the brain of mammals using mouse genetics, in the hopes of developing therapeutic applications to treat neurodegenerative diseases.
According to Gizem Donmez, while everyone ages, there is still very little known about the aging process. While research is still being conducted, it has already been found that aging is not as simple as was once thought. Aging is genetically regulated, and gene mutations play a role in regulating lifespan. As a scientist, Gizem Donmez studies both the role of sirtuins in neurodegenerative disease, and the aging process as well. She watches and observes the role of sirtuins in an aging brain, different neurodegenerative diseases, and other age-related conditions of the brain. For her studies, Gizem Donmez was awarded the Ellison Foundation’s 2012 New Scholar in Aging award.