Scientist to Watch: Coleen Murphy

Coleen Murphy: Immersed in the Inevitable

Chandra Shekhar
Oct 1, 2006
<figcaption> Credit: JASON VARNEY | http://www.VARNEYPHOTO.COM VARNEYPHOTO.COM _blank</figcaption>
Credit: JASON VARNEY | http://www.VARNEYPHOTO.COM VARNEYPHOTO.COM _blank

It might seem baffling that someone as young as Coleen Murphy could be so preoccupied with aging. But, as the 37-year-old researcher explains, "Aging is a cool problem from the philosophical viewpoint all the way down to the scientific nitty-gritty." Her fascination centers on Caenorhabditis elegans, which may hold answers to the aging puzzle. "You can take a single gene and change it, and now it lives twice as long," she says. "I want to figure out how it can do that."

Cynthia Kenyon, whose pioneering genetics work implicated an insulin/IGF-1 signaling pathway in worm lifespan regulation, took Murphy on as a postdoc in 2000, and quickly put her flair for quantitative work to the test. "Coleen made a whole genome-wide microarray for 20,000 genes almost single handedly," Kenyon recalls. RNAi technology was also emerging at the time, and armed with these...

Title: Assistant Professor, Department of Molecular Biology and Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics, Princeton University
Age: 37
Representative Publications:

1. S.A. McCarroll et al., "Comparing genomic expression patterns across species identifies shared transcriptional profile in aging," Nat Gen, 36:197-204, 2004. (Cited in 59 papers) 2. C.T. Murphy, et al., "Genes that act downstream of DAF-16 to influence the lifespan of C. elegans," Nature, 424:277-83, 2003. (Cited in 209 papers)