Nansen Neuroscience Lecture 2018

The Nansen Neuroscience Lectures (NNL) are organized in conjunction with Fridtjof Nansen’s birthday to commemorate his fundamental contribution to neuroscience. The NNL are given by speakers selected from the top tier of neuroscience research.

Open to public, no charge  


10:30 Coffee and refreshments

11:00 Opening

Ole M Sejersted, President of The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters

11:03 Introduction

Linda H Bergersen, University of Oslo

11:06 “Regulation of Cognition and Longevity: What worms can teach us”

Lecture by Coleen T. Murphy, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, USA

11:46 Discussion and questions from the audience,

Moderator Jon Storm-Mathisen

12:00 Coffee and refreshments – Informal discussions


Coleen T. Murphy 

“Regulation of Cognition and Longevity: What worms can teach us”

Professor Coleen T. Murphy from Princeton University.
Professor Coleen T. Murphy Photo: Princeton University.

“Longevity pathways” couple the timing of reproduction with somatic health, based on information the organism perceives about its environment and nutrient status.

Because my lab and I are interested in reproductive and cognitive decline with age, and how they are regulated both cell autonomously and non-autonomously, the work in my lab incorporates several lines of research that are unified by this reasoning.

For example, understanding how the long-lived and very healthy daf-2 insulin receptor mutant (Kaletsky et al. 2016 Nature) maintains its cognitive function and other health markers with age has been instructive in identifying potential pathways to slow aging and maintain important functions with age. CREB, a transcription factor which is required for longterm memory from worms to humans, is upregulated in insulin signaling mutants (Lakhina et al. 2015 Neuron), and its activity is maintained longer in a hyperactive Gaq mutant (Arey et al. 2018 Neuron).

We have identified the set of genes that function downstream of the CREB transcription factor to egulate long-term memory, revealing conserved genes that may function to regulate and maintain memory in humans, as well.


Coleen T. Murphy is a Professor of Genomics and Molecular Biology at Princeton University. She graduated from the University of Houston with a B.S. in Biochemistry and Biophysics, then earned her doctorate in Biochemistry at Stanford University, studying the structure-function determinants of the motor protein myosin.


Coleen T. Murphy, Ph.D.

HHMI-Simons Faculty Scholar

Professor, LSI Genomics and Molecular Biology

Director, Paul F. Glenn Center for Biology of Aging Research at Princeton

148 CIL, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544, USA

Telephone +1-609-258-9396,


Dr. Murphy became interested in applying new quantitative technologies to approach the question of aging during her postdoctoral work in Dr. Cynthia Kenyon’s lab (UCSF), developing microarray approaches to identify the set of genes downstream of the insulin signaling/FOXO longevity pathway, revealing a vast array of downstream cellular processes, including stress response, proteostasis, metabolism, immunity, autophagy, and intercellular signaling, to extend cellular and organismal maintenance with age.

In her own lab, Dr. Murphy’s team has developed C. elegans models of human “quality of life” aging phenotypes, including cognitive aging and reproductive aging; these processes are remarkably well-conserved at the molecular level, and her group has identified genetic pathways that can extend these processes with age through the development of quantitative assays and genomic approaches to study these aging phenomena.

Her lab’s work has shown that C. elegans uses highly conserved mechanisms to learn and remember associative memories, and has revealed possible candidates for future therapeutics.

the murphy lab

What governs how fast we age? Why do some biological processes stop working earlier than others? And what is happening at the molecular and cellular level as some organisms age while others continue to thrive? 


Linda H Bergersen and Jon Storm-Mathisen at the University of Oslo, the Nansen Neuroscience Network (NNN) and Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters (DNVA)
Published Oct. 3, 2018 2:25 PM - Last modified Oct. 3, 2018 2:29 PM