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Jan van Deursen

Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Professor of Pediatrics at The Mayo Clinic.

Jan is passionate about basic medical research and its potential to transform human health and treatment of disease. He has a longstanding interest in questions related to cell cycle control and cellular responses to stress. He helped establish the concept that, with aging and development of age-related disease, wasteful transformed cells that cannot divide litter tissues and organs in small numbers and demonstrated that clearance of these so-called “senescent cells” extends both healthspan and lifespan. During his Ph.D. training, Jan pioneered technologies to knock down the expression of endogenous genes in mice, and these techniques have proven to be particularly useful in uncovering the physiological function of mammalian genes essential to cell division or viability.

In applying these technologies to address the longstanding question as to whether aneuploidy is a cause or a consequence of cancer, Jan discovered that BubR1 (an essential mitotic checkpoint protein that ensures faithful chromosome segregation) is causally implicated in cancer, progeria and aging. Studies originating from his desire to understand these mechanisms are credited with providing the first in vivo evidence that p16-positive senescent cells drive aging and age-related disease, thus establishing cellular senescence as a promising target for therapeutic intervention. Dr. van Deursen holds a B.S. in Biology, M.S. in Molecular Biology, and Ph.D. in Cell Biology from University of Nijmegen.

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See also: Health Organisation Mayo Clinic - Non-profit American academic medical center focused on health care, education, and research

Details last updated 09-Jan-2020

Jan van Deursen News

Comprehensive history and explanation of senescent cells

The Scientist - 01-Mar-2020

Including the latest on clinical trials of first-generation senolytics


Fisetin destroys senescent cells, but safe dosage not determined yet (LEAF) - 26-Dec-2018

Includes table of fisetin content in range of fruits and vegetables


To stay young, kill zombie cells

Nature - 24-Oct-2017

Proof-of-concept trials starting that pit senolytic drugs against a range of age-related ailments...


Clearing the Body’s Retired Cells Slows Aging and Extends Life

The Atlantic - 03-Feb-2016

Cells accumulate damage in their DNA. Eventually become senescent – i.e. they stop dividing – an...