Hello my name is Matthew Stocker. I received my bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Cincinnati. My previous research experience was in the Whitsett lab, which is a part of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center’s (CCHMC) Neonatology and Pulmonary Biology department. I assisted on a project mapping the lung via imaging and proteomic/genomic data collection that is currently ongoing at CCHMC and its collaborators. I also assisted on a postdoc’s project investigating viral clearance of influenza in the lungs. Currently, I am a part of the SENS Research Foundation Postbaccalaureate Fellowship Program at their Research Center in Mountain View, CA. I am mentored by Dr. Matthew O’Connor and work on the Immuno Project, which is focused on discovering therapeutics that stimulate the innate immune system to clear senescent cells from the body more effectively at older ages. My work thus far has been in the initiation of the project and laying the groundwork to test possible therapeutics.
The purpose behind this SENS Research Foundation project is to develop new therapies to stimulate the body’s immune system to eradicate senescent cells that are persisting inside the body. A senescent cell is any cell in the body that has lost the capability to divide and secretes a Senescence Associated Secretory Phenotype (SASP). The SASP is a harmful expression of molecules inside the body that can lead to chronic inflammation. This chronic inflammation can help contribute to age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s, atherosclerosis, arthritis, and cancer. By introducing new immunotherapies that eliminate senescent cells, and in turn eliminate a persistent SASP response inside the body, the chronic inflammation will be alleviated. By treating chronic inflammation, we believe it will decrease the likelihood of developing age-related diseases as well as improve overall quality of life.