Departments of Geriatrics, Biochemistry/Molecular Biology,
and Pharmacology/Toxicology

Robert J. S. Reis, Ph.D.

Ph.D., University of Sussex, Brighton, England, U.K.
B.A., Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
Office:  (501)257-5560 – VA Medical Center – Research 151
FAX:  (501)257-5578

Molecular genetics of aging

My research has focused on the molecular genetics of longevity and age-associated diseases, using both previously defined mutations and gene mapping.  I was trained in Drosophila and mammalian genetics, adding C. elegans in 1989 as a model system in which to develop gene mapping methods to begin to characterize genes that modulate longevity.  We were pioneers in this area, mapping over 27 highly-significant loci for lifespan, resistance to oxidative stresses, and Darwinian fitness.  In mammalian genetics, we were the first to identify the Pirin gene on the X chromosome as a determinant of post-menopausal bone loss in women, a discovery that was recently confirmed in a Chinese population.  We also have a long-standing research program on the role of homologous recombination in the early etiology and subsequent progression of myeloma, prostate and breast cancers.  We were the first to note that cells from many different cancer types feature very high levels of homologous recombination, and high expression of the Rad51 recombinase complex that mediates it.  We are now working to understand how that contributes to cancer progression, and how we might prevent new recombinations that lead to relapses in which cancers develop resistance to treatments that initially appeared to be succeeding.


Selected Publications

Shmookler Reis RJ, Ayyadevara S, Crow WA, Lee TW, Delongchamp R.  Gene categories differentially expressed in C. elegans age-1 mutants of extraordinary longevity:  New insights from novel data-mining procedures.  J Gerontol Biol Sci,  in press, 2011.

Pal J, Bertheau R, Buon L, Qazi A, Batchu RB, Bandyopadhyay S, Ali-Fehmi R, Beer DG, Weaver DW, Shmookler Reis RJ, Goyal RK, Huang Q, Munshi NC, Shammas MA.  Genomic evolution in Barrett’s adenocarcinoma cells: Critical roles of elevated hsRAD51, homologous recombination, and Alu sequences in the genome.  Oncogene, in press; 2011 Mar 21, Epub ahead of print.  PMID: 21423218 [Abstract]

Vertino A, Ayyadevara S, Thaden JJ, Shmookler Reis RJ.  A narrow quantitative trait locus in C. elegans coordinately affects longevity, thermotolerance, and resistance to paraquat.  Frontiers Genet 2: Article 63, 2011.  (PM, PMC in process)

Shmookler Reis RJ, Xu L, Lee HY, Chae MH, Thaden JJ, Bharill P, Tazearslan C, Siegel E, Alla R, Zimniak P, Ayyadevara S.  Modulation of lipid biosynthesis contributes to stress resistance and longevity of C. elegans mutants.  Aging (Albany, NY) 3: 125-147, 2011.  PMC3082008 [Abstract]

Tazearslan C, Ayyadevara S, Bharill P, Shmookler Reis RJ.  Positive feedback between transcriptional and kinase suppression confers extraordinary longevity and stress resistance.  PLoS Genetics 5: e1000452, 2009. PMC2661368 [Abstract]

Ayyadevara S, Tazearslan C, Alla R, Bharill P, Siegel E, Shmookler Reis RJ.  C. elegans PI3K mutants reveal novel genes underlying exceptional lifespan and stress resistance. Aging Cell 8: 706-725, 2009. PMC2917200 [Abstract]

Ayyadevara S, Alla R, Thaden JJ, Shmookler Reis RJ.  Remarkable longevity and stress resistance of nematode PI3K-null mutants.  Aging Cell 7: 13-22, 2008.  PMC1819584 [Abstract]

Shmookler Reis RJ, Bharill P, Tazearslan C, Ayyadevara S.  Extreme-longevity mutations orchestrate silencing of multiple signaling pathways, Biochim Biophys Acta 1790: 1075-1083, 2009.  PMC2885961 [Abstract]

Shammas MA, Shmookler Reis RJ, Koley H, Batchu RB, Li C, Munshi N.  Dysfunctional homologous recombination mediates genomic instability and progression in myeloma. Blood 113:2290-2297, 2008.  PMC2652372 [Abstract]

Ayyadevara S, Dandapat A, Singh SP, Siegel ER, Shmookler Reis RJ, Zimniak L, Zimniak P.  Life span and stress resistance of Caenorhabditis elegans are differentially affected by glutathione transferases metabolizing 4-hydroxynon-2-enal.  Mech Aging Devel 128:196-205, 2008.  PMC1819584 [Abstract]

Chae MH, Thaden JJ, Shmookler Reis RJ.  An iterative block-shifting approach to peak alignment that preserves the shape and area of gas chromatography-mass spectrometry peaks. BMC Bioinformatics 9 Suppl 9: S15, 2008. PMC2537566 [Abstract]

Lee TW, Desai VG, Cruz V, Shmookler Reis RJ, and Delongchamp RR.  Testing for treatment effects on gene ontology. BMC Bioinformatics 9 Suppl 9: S20, 2008.  PMC2537571 [Abstract]

Shmookler Reis RJ, Kang P, Ayyadevara S.  Quantitative trait loci define genes and pathways underlying genetic variation in longevity. Exper Gerontol  41:1046-1054, 2007.  PMID: 16919411 (no PMCID) [Abstract]

Szumska D, Benes H, Kang P, Weinstein RS, Jilka RL, Manolagas S, Shmookler Reis RJ.  A novel locus on the X chromosome regulates post-maturity bone density changes in mice.  Bone 40:758-766, 2007.  PMC1861851 [Abstract]

Parsons CA, Mroczkowski HJ, McGuigan F, Albagha OM, Manolagas S, Reid DM, Ralston SH, Shmookler Reis RJ. Interspecies synteny mapping identifies a quantitative trait locus for bone mineral density on human chromosome Xp22.  Hum Mol Genet 14:3141-3148, 2006.  PMID: 16183656 (no PMCID) [Abstract]