• Research

    Our goal is to determine how the brain regulates aging and resilience to stress

    We use the nematode C. elegans as a tractable model organism to investigate how the brain regulates aging and resilience at cellular, tissue, and organismic levels.

     

    We leverage new enabling technologies, including biophysically-calibrated protein-oxidation microscopy and an automated Lifespan Machine using scanners.

     

    Our work is cross-disciplinary, combining molecular genetics, quantitative microscopy, mathematical modelling, and engineering.

     

    A better understanding of how the brain regulates aging and resilience in C. elegans may ultimately lead to a new class of therapies for aging-dependent human diseases.

     

  • Opportunities

    We are recruiting curious, enthusiastic and hard working budding scientists to join our team!

    Graduate students

    Graduate students from Biology, Bioengineering, and other graduate programs at Northeastern University are eligible to join the lab. We have several rotation projects available, which can be tailored to the specific interests of the student. Please contact Javier if you are interested.

    Undergraduate students

    Undergraduates interested in using molecular-genetic approaches to study the mechanisms that regulate lifespan and resilience to stress in the nematode C. elegans should apply using this google form.

    Postdoctoral fellows

    We are looking for candidates interested in combining experimental and theoretical approaches to study the regulation of protein oxidation at molecular and cellular levels. Please send Javier your CV, a copy of a first-author manuscript or draft, and a cover letter describing your research experience and future goals.

  • Lab blog

    Jodie Schiffer and Javier Apfeld had a lot of fun talking to Laura Castañón at Northeastern's news about our research on how worms use their brain to prepare for danger. Here is the article @Northearn news!
    Thanks to eLife for writing a plain language summary of our paper! Follow the link: A special circuit in the brain of the worm C. elegans controls whether they mount their own chemical defenses or take advantage of the protection conferred by bacteria nearby
    We are so excited about our new paper! The best way to learn about our the our paper, in a manner that captures the excitment of scientific discovery is to read our paper-explaining twitterstorm! Also read the eLife digest: Cells of all kinds often wage chemical warfare against each other....
    My 17 students spent over a hundred hours baking, painting nails, exercising, playing bingo, providing tech support, and socializing with seniors in six nearby assisted-living facilities. Why? First, a bit about my class, which on the surface is about the recent scientific discoveries that...
    In this episode of the litmus podcast, hosts Emily Arntsen and Aria Bracci interviewed Javier Apfeld (assistant professor of biology) and Sean Johnsen (lab technician in the Apfeld Lab).   We discussed the new science of aging: "Scientists have discovered how to make a certain kind of worm live...
    Science writer Emily Arntsen talked with Javier Apfeld about our lab's research.
    We are super excited that our CAREER proposal "Intercellular regulation of protein oxidation during aging" was funded by the National Science Foundation's Division Of Integrative Organismal Systems! To learn more about this project, please read's Tim Briggs interview with Javier.
    More Posts
  • People

    Lab Members

    Javier Apfeld

    Assistant Professor

    PhD in Biochemistry, University of California, San Francisco, 1999

    BSc in Biology, MIT, 1994

    Jodie Norris

    Graduate Student

    BS in Biomedical Sciences, University of Central Florida, 2015

    Frank Servello

    Graduate Student

    BS in Biotechnology, Framingham State College, 2017

    Yuyan Xu

    Graduate Student

    BM in Medicine, Fudan University, China, 2018

    Stephanie Stumbur

    Undergraduate Student

    Northeastern University

    Niket Patel

    Undergraduate Student

    Northeastern University

    Nathan Gong

    Undergraduate Student

    Northeastern University

  • Lab Alumni

    Sean Johnsen

    Research Technician and Undergraduate Thesis 2017-2020

    Graduate Student, University of North Carolina,Chapel Hill

    William Heath

    Research Technician 2015 - 2018

    Manufacturing Technician, Partner Therapeutics, WA

    Charles Linskey

    Graduate Rotation Student 2018

    Graduate student,

    Dori Woods' lab, Northeastern University

    Brian Nguyen

    Graduate Rotation Student 2016

    Graduate student,

    Veronica Godoy's lab, Northeastern University

    Perla Castañeda

    Graduate Rotation Student 2016

    Graduate student,

    Erin Cram's lab, Northeastern University

    Kim Lühmann

    MS Exchange Student 2018 - 2019

    Graduate student, Universität Hamburg

    Julian Stanley

    Undergraduate Thesis 2015 - 2020

    Graduate Student, MIT

    Hannah Tam

    Undergraduate Thesis 2015 - 2019

    Graduate Student, Harvard Medical School

    Nicholas LoRocco

    Undergraduate Volunteer 2019 - 2020

    Undergraduate student, Northeastern University

    Nithin Chintala

    Undergraduate Volunteer 2019 - 2020

    Undergraduate student, Northeastern University

    Anders Lindberg

    Undergraduate Volunteer 2019

    Undergraduate student, Northeastern University

    Natalie McGowan

    Undergraduate Volunteer 2016 - 2019

    Undergraduate Student, Northeastern University

    Pranav Prabhala

    Undergraduate Volunteer 2018 - 2019

    Undergraduate student, Northeastern University

    Jodie Wong

    Undergraduate Volunteer 2018 - 2019

    Undergraduate student, Northeastern University

    William Serkin

    Undergraduate Volunteer 2018

    Undergraduate student, Northeastern University

    Paula Hornstein

    Undergraduate Volunteer 2018

    Undergraduate student, Northeastern University

    Orna Lynch

    Undergraduate Volunteer 2018

    Research Associate, Cellarity

    Sarah Brennan

    Undergraduate Volunteer 2016 - 2018

    Undergraduate student, Northeastern University

    Whitney Vullemier

    Undergraduate Volunteer 2017

    Research Associate, Sanofi Molecular Oncology

    Abigail Vogelaar

    Undergraduate Volunteer 2016 - 2017

    Research Associate, C4 Therapeutics

    Stephanie Su

    Undergraduate Volunteer 2017

    Mechanical Engineer, Joby Aviation

    Nohelly Derosiers

    REU Student 2019

    Medical Student, University of Pennsylvania

    Jalen Rose

    REU Student 2018

    Undergraduate student, North Carolina State University

    Destiney Kirby

    REU Student 2017

    Medical Student, Albert Einstein College of Medicine

    Kumael Jafri

    High School Student 2017

    Undergraduate Student, Northeastern University

    Harim Kim

    Summer Student 2016

    Internal medicine resident, University of Maryland Medical Center

    Alex Schiffer

    Intern 2016

    Senior Research Associate, Biogen

  • Publications

    The SensorOverlord predicts the accuracy of measurements with ratiometric biosensors

    Stanley JB, Johnsen SA, and Apfeld J. Scientific Reports (2020).

    [article | supplement | bioRxiv | github | website]

    The heat shock transcription factor HSF-1 protects Caenorhabditis elegans from peroxide stress

    Servello F and Apfeld J. Translational Medicine of Aging (2020).

    [article | supplement | bioRxiv]

    Caenorhabditis elegans processes sensory information to choose between freeloading and self-defense strategies

    Schiffer J, Servello F, Heath W, Amrit FR, Stumbur S, Eder M, Martin O, Johnsen S, Stanley J, Tam H, Brennan S, McGowan N, Vogelaar A, Xu Y, Serkin W, Ghazi A, Stroustrup N, and Apfeld J. eLife (2020).

    [article | bioRxiv | accompanying eLife digest]

    What can we learn about human disease from the nematode C. elegans?

    Apfeld J and Alper S. Methods in Molecular Biology (2018).

    [chapter]

    Age-dependence and aging-dependence: Neuronal loss and lifespan in a C. elegans model of Parkinson's disease

    Apfeld J* and Fontana W. Biology (2017).

    *Co-corresponding and co-last author.

    [article | supplement | movie | bioRxiv]

    The temporal scaling of Caenorhabditis elegans ageing

    Stroustrup N, Anthony WE, Nash ZM, Gowda V, Gomez A, López-Moyado IF, Apfeld J*, Fontana W. Nature (2016).

    *Co-last author.

    [article | supplement | tables | accompanying news and views]

    Regulated spatial organization and sensitivity of cytosolic protein oxidation in Caenorhabditis elegans

    Romero-Aristizabal C, Marks DS, Fontana W, Apfeld J*. Nature Communications (2014).

    *Co-corresponding and co-last author.

    [article | supplement]

    An insulin-to-insulin regulatory network orchestrates phenotypic specificity in development and physiology

    Fernandes de Abreu D, Caballero A, Fardel P, Stroustrup N, Chen Z, Lee K, Keyes WD, Nash ZM, López-Moyado IF, Vaggi F, Cornils A, Regenass M, Neagu A, Ostojic I, Liu C, Cho Y, Sifoglu D, Fontana W, Lu H, Csikasz-Nagy A, Murphy C, Antebi A, Blanc E, Apfeld J*, Zhang Y, Alcedo J, Ch'ng Q. PLoS Genetics (2014).

    *Co-corresponding and co-last author.

    [article]

    The Caenorhabditis elegans Lifespan Machine

    Stroustrup N, Ulmschneider BE, Nash ZM, López-Moyado IF, Apfeld J*, Fontana W. Nature Methods (2013).

    *Co-corresponding and co-last author.

    [article | supplement]

    Pre-2013 publications

    Hulme SE, Shevkoplyas SS, McGuigan AP, Apfeld J, Fontana W, Whitesides GM. Lifespan-on-a-chip: microfluidic chambers for performing lifelong observation of elegans. Lab on a Chip (2010).

     

    Alper S, McElwee MK, Apfeld J, Lackford B, Freedman JH, Schwartz DA. The Caenorhabditis elegans germ line regulates distinct signaling pathways to control lifespan and innate immunity. J Biol Chem (2010).
     
    Hulme SE, Shevkoplyas SS, Apfeld J, Fontana W, Whitesides GM. A microfabricated array of clamps for immobilizing and imaging elegans. Lab on a Chip (2007).
     
    Bordone L, Motta MC, Picard F, Robinson A, Jhala US, Apfeld J, McDonagh T, Lemieux M, McBurney M, Szilvasi A, Easlon EJ, Lin SJ, Guarente L. Sirt1 regulates insulin secretion by repressing UCP2 in pancreatic beta cells. PLoS Biology (2006).
     
    Apfeld J*, O’Connor G, McDonagh T, DiStefano PS, Curtis R. The AMP-activated protein kinase AAK-2 links energy levels and insulin-like signals to lifespan in elegans. Genes and Development (2004). * Corresponding author.
     
    Francis R, McGrath G, Zhang J, Ruddy DA, Sym M, Apfeld J, Nicoll M, Maxwell M, Hai B, Ellis MC, Parks AL, Xu W, Li J, Gurney M, Myers RL, Himes CS, Hiebsch R, Ruble C, Nye JS, Curtis D. aph-1 and pen-2 are required for Notch pathway signaling, gamma-secretase cleavage of betaAPP, and presenilin protein accumulation. Developmental Cell (2002).
     
    Arantes-Oliveira N, Apfeld J, Dillin A, Kenyon C. Regulation of Lifespan by germ-line stem-cells in Caenorhabditis elegans. Science (2002).
     
    Apfeld J, Kenyon C. Regulation of lifespan by sensory perception in Caenorhabditis elegans. Nature (1999). Accompanying News & Views in Nature.
     
    Apfeld J, Kenyon C. Cell nonautonomy of elegans daf-2 function in the regulation of diapause and life span. Cell (1998). Featured on the cover of Cell, with accompanying Minireview.
     
    Finer-Moore JS; Liu L; Birdsall DL; Brem R; Apfeld J; Santi DV; Stroud RM. Contributions of orientation and hydrogen bonding to catalysis in Asn229 mutants of thymidylate synthase. Journal of Molecular Biology (1998).
     
    Curtis D; Apfeld J; Lehmann R. nanos is an evolutionarily conserved organizer of anterior-posterior polarity. Development (1995).

  • Links to publications

    Google Scholar

    ORCID iD

  • Social

  • Lab information

    Email

    j.apfeld [at] northeastern.edu

    Call

    Lab: (617) 373-2120

    Office: (617) 373-4495

    Visit or Ship

    Lab: Room 409

    Office: Room 413C

    134 Mugar Life Sciences Building

    360 Huntington Ave.

    Boston, MA 02115

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