Caroline Kumsta, Ph.D.

Caroline Kumsta's Research Focus

Aging-Related Diseases
C. elegans

"We are aging—not just as individuals but as a world. In 2020, about 727 million people worldwide were 65 and older. By 2050, that total is projected to increase to 1.5 billion — 1 in every 6 of the earth’s inhabitants.”

– Global Aging, National Institute on Aging 

As we age, we face an increased risk of developing age-related disorders, such as neurodegenerative diseases, because of the increased cellular accumulation of damaged biomolecules, including protein aggregates, which contributes to cellular decline. The activation of cyto-protective mechanisms, such as the cellular recycling process of autophagy and stress responses, contributes to improving cellular function and preventing aging-induced dysfunction. Discovering mechanisms that help maintain cellular integrity during aging, is therefore an important step towards developing new strategies for maintaining cellular homeostasis and organismal health, which could have great impact by increasing healthspan and eliminating age-related diseases.

Caroline Kumsta's Bio

Dr. Kumsta earned her degree as a Diplom Biologist/M.Sc. and Ph.D. from the Technical University of Munich, Germany. She performed her thesis research in the laboratory of Dr. Ursula Jakob at the University of Michigan. Dr. Kumsta joined Sanford Burnham Prebys and the lab of Malene Hansen as a postdoctoral fellow in 2009. In 2018 Caroline was promoted to Research Assistant Professor and then to Assistant Professor in 2021.

 

Education and Training

  • 2018-2021: Research Assistant Professor
  • 2016-2018: Staff Scientist, Development, Aging and Regeneration, Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, La Jolla, California, USA
  • 2009-2016: Postdoctoral Fellow with Dr. Malene Hansen, Development, Aging and Regeneration, Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, La Jolla, California, USA
  • 2009: Postdoctoral Associate with Dr. Ursula Jakob, Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA
  • 2005-2008: Doctor rerum naturalium (Ph.D.), magna cum laude Technical University of Munich, Germany Thesis research performed in the laboratory of Dr. Ursula Jakob at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA
  • 1999-2005: Diplom-Biologin Univ. (M.S.), with honors Technical University of Munich, Germany

 

Honors and Recognition

  • 2015: Winner of the Biochemical Journal Best Oral Presentation Prize at the EMBO Workshop: The Regulation of Aging and Proteostasis
  • 2013: Winner of award for the best oral presentation at the 12th Annual Poster Symposium at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute
  • 2012: Invitation and sponsorship from the Bavarian government to attend the first “Return to Bavaria” conference in Munich, Germany
  • 2011: Recipient of the 2011 career development award “Lenka Musafia Finci Award” in recognition for outstanding research with great potential to help mankind from the Fishman Fund at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute
  • 2011: Grant from Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds to attend the conference Protein Synthesis and Translational Control, Heidelberg, Germany
  • 2008: Full fellowship from the Ellison Medical Foundation to attend Molecular Biology of Aging Laboratory Course, MBL, Woods Hole, MA
  • 2007: Grant from BIF to attend the conference Biology of Aging, Stockholm, Sweden
  • 2006-2008: Ph.D. Fellowship from Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds 
  • 2006: Grant from BIF to attend the conference Molecular Genetics of Aging, Cold Spring Harbor, NY
  • 2004: Diploma Thesis Fellowship from the Bayerische Forschungsstiftung (Bavarian Research Foundation)

C. elegans

Publications

Getting under the skin: Cuticle damage elicits systemic autophagy response in C. elegans.

Kumsta C, Hansen M

J Cell Biol 2019 Dec 2 ;218(12):3885-3887

Mitochondrial Permeability Uncouples Elevated Autophagy and Lifespan Extension.

Zhou B, Kreuzer J, Kumsta C, Wu L, Kamer KJ, Cedillo L, Zhang Y, Li S, Kacergis MC, Webster CM, Fejes-Toth G, Naray-Fejes-Toth A, Das S, Hansen M, Haas W, Soukas AA

Cell 2019 Apr 4 ;177(2):299-314.e16

Spatiotemporal regulation of autophagy during Caenorhabditis elegans aging.

Chang JT, Kumsta C, Hellman AB, Adams LM, Hansen M

Elife 2017 Jul 4 ;6

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Autophagic receptor p62 protects against glycation-derived toxicity and enhances viability.

Aragonès G, Dasuri K, Olukorede O, Francisco SG, Renneburg C, Kumsta C, Hansen M, Kageyama S, Komatsu M, Rowan S, Volkin J, Workman M, Yang W, Daza P, Ruano D, Dominguez-Martín H, Rodríguez-Navarro JA, Du XL, Brownlee MA, Bejarano E, Taylor A

Aging Cell 2020 Nov ;19(11):e13257

Correction to: Assessing Tissue-Specific Autophagy Flux in Adult Caenorhabditis elegans.

Chang JT, Hansen M, Kumsta C

Methods Mol Biol 2020 ;2144:C1

Assessing Tissue-Specific Autophagy Flux in Adult Caenorhabditis elegans.

Chang JT, Hansen M, Kumsta C

Methods Mol Biol 2020 ;2144:187-200

The selective autophagy receptor SQSTM1/p62 improves lifespan and proteostasis in an evolutionarily conserved manner.

Aparicio R, Hansen M, Walker DW, Kumsta C

Autophagy 2020 Apr ;16(4):772-774

The autophagy receptor p62/SQST-1 promotes proteostasis and longevity in C. elegans by inducing autophagy.

Kumsta C, Chang JT, Lee R, Tan EP, Yang Y, Loureiro R, Choy EH, Lim SHY, Saez I, Springhorn A, Hoppe T, Vilchez D, Hansen M

Nat Commun 2019 Dec 11 ;10(1):5648

Getting under the skin: Cuticle damage elicits systemic autophagy response in C. elegans.

Kumsta C, Hansen M

J Cell Biol 2019 Dec 2 ;218(12):3885-3887

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