We hope first and foremost that you are healthy and safe, and wish that this unprecedented challenge ends swiftly for each and every one of you.
W*I*T*H is delighted to invite you to our first virtual event to be held via Zoom on 30 June at 6pm UK time.
Details are in the attached invitation, including how to RSVP.
We are very pleased that Full Professor Emma Teeling, University College Dublin, has agreed to speak to us about her extraordinary work with bats, which is summarised in this excerpt from the Irish Times:
It hasn’t been a good year for bats, with the flying mammals being pointed to by some as a potential source of a deadly coronavirus sweeping the world that’s already killed more than 350,000 people worldwide and infected more than 6.25m people.
Ireland’s University College Dublin Full Professor, Emma Teeling, a bat expert and a newbie to the weird and wonderful world that is the World Economic Forum conference in Davos in January 2020, these creatures offer the greatest hope to solving what she calls the world’s second-biggest issue, after the climate crisis: how to slow down the ageing process in humans. Also understanding the immunology of these fantastic creatures can help us develop better treatments for COVID-19 and solve the mystery of where this virus has come from.
“We are all living longer. It’s estimated there is going to be a 340 per cent increase in people over the age of 80 globally in the next 30 years, so we’ve got to find ways to extend the health span of our ageing future populations,” she said.
Teeling’s team has found that long-living bats have evolved better ways to prevent and repair age-induced cellular damage.
Now for the science bit. It mainly appears to be the structures at the end of chromosomes in their cells – called telomeres – that protect bats’ DNA as they replicate. Most mammals’ telomeres shorten as they age, driving the ageing process. But for the longest-living bats – who can be up to 37 years-old, the human equivalent of 234, without obvious signs of ageing – these telomeres don’t shorten.
Emma’s work, is funded by the European Research Council and an Irish Research Council Laureate Award. She was elected to the Royal Irish Academy (RIA) in 2016.
We really look forward to seeing you on Zoom!