Brem Lab

Rachel Brem, PhD

Understanding how and why traits differ between individuals and discovering genetic changes that impact aging behaviors.

Lab focus

Longevity, susceptibility to age-associated diseases, and many other attributes relevant for aging vary from one person to another. These differences are due in part to DNA sequence variants somewhere in our genomes, though exactly where is still a mystery in most cases. Worms, flies, and single-cell microbes can serve as powerful models for the study of the principles of genetic variation. Research in the Brem lab uses these model organisms to discover genetic changes that impact aging behaviors and other traits, as well as their evolutionary histories. The Brem lab approach uses large-scale analyses of thousands of genes at once, both computational and experimental.

Why it matters

Most genes contain instructions for the production of a protein — a molecular machine that does work for the cell — including information that regulates the amount and timing of protein production. The regulatory sequence included at the end of a gene is defined by a process called polyadenylation.

Solving the puzzle of why some people age better than others has implications for everyone. Genetic benefits that accrue to one person could be exploited to benefit all.

Rachel Brem, PhD

The Brem lab is pleased to acknowledge the generous support of the following major funders:

Dr. Brem is an associate professor and the faculty director of the Bioinformatics Core at the Buck Institute. She earned a PhD in biophysics from University of California, San Francisco, and did postdoctoral research at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington. Before joining the Buck Institute, she held a faculty position at University of California, Berkeley, where she retains an adjunct appointment.

Dr. Brem is a geneticist and genomicist working at the interface between computation and experiment. She has been the recipient of a Burroughs-Wellcome Career Award, an Ellison New Scholar in Aging Award, and a Glenn Award for Research in Biological Mechanisms of Aging.

  • Arjun Sasikumar  Postdoctoral Research Fellow
  • Jessie Uehling  Postdoctoral Research Fellow
  • Wenke Wang  Postdoctoral Research Fellow
  • Taekyu Kang  Graduate Student
  • Tyler Hilsabeck  PhD Candidate, Buck-USC Biology of Aging Program
  • Carly Weiss  Graduate Student
  • Melanie Abrams  Graduate Student
  • Julie Chuong  Research Associate
  • T. R.
    Tal Ronnen Oron  Manager, Bioinformatics Core
  • Claire Dubin  Undergraduate Researcher
  • Anna Flury  Undergraduate Researcher
  • Faisal AlZaben  Undergraduate Researcher
Rowena Abulencia
Administrative Lab Coordinator
Phone: 415-209-2206
Selected Publications
  • Hill, R. Z., Hoffman, B., Morita, T., Campos, S. M., Lumpkin, E. A., Brem, R. B., Bautista, D. M. (2018 Mar 21). The signaling lipid sphingosine-1- phosphate regulates mechanical pain. eLife, 7, ii, e33285. DOI: 10.7554/eLife.33285. PubMed PMID: 29561262.
  • Coradetti, S. T., Pinel, D., Geiselman, G., Ito, M., Mondo, S., Reilly, M. C., Cheng, Y. F., Bauer, S., Grigoriev, I., Gladden, J. M., Simmons, B. A., Brem, R. B., Arkin, A. P., Skerker, J. M. (2018 Mar 9). Functional genomics of lipid metabolism in the oleaginous yeast Rhodosporidium toruloides. eLife, 7, ii, e32110. DOI: 10.7554/eLife.32110. PubMed PMID: 29521624. Featured article, eLife Digest, March 9, 2018.
  • Roop, J. I., Chang, K. C., Brem, R. B. (2016 Feb 18). Polygenic evolution of a sugar specialization tradeoff in yeast. Nature, 530(7590), 336–9. DOI: 10.1038/nature16938. PubMed PMID: 26863195. Featured article, Cell Systems, March 2016.
  • Morita, T., McClain, S. P., Batia, L. M., Pellegrino, M., Wilson, S. R., Kienzler, M. A., Lyman, K., Olsen, A. S. B., Wong, J. F., Brem, R. B., Bautista, D. M. (2015 Jul 1). HTR7 is a transducer of serotonergic acute and chronic itch. Neuron, 87(1), 124–38. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2015.05.044. PubMed PMID: 26074006.
  • Schraiber, J. G., Mostovoy, Y., Hsu, T. Y., Brem, R. B. (2013). Inferring pathway evolutionary histories from transcriptional profiling data. PLoS Computational Biology, 9(10), e1003255. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1003255. PubMed PMID: 24130471.
  • Yoon, O. K., Hsu, T. Y., Im, J. H., Brem, R. B. (2012). Genetics and regulatory impact of alternative polyadenylation in human B-lymphoblastoid cells. PLoS Genetics, 8(8), e1002882. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1002882. PubMed PMID: 22916029.
  • Denby, C. M., Im, J. H., Yu, R. C., Pesce, C. G., Brem, R. B. (2012 Mar 6). Negative feedback confers mutational robustness in yeast transcription factor regulation. PNAS, 109(10), 3874–8. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1116360109. PubMed PMID: 22355134.

Support the Buck

We rely on donations to support the science that we believe will add years to people's lifespan and decades to their healthspan.