Project Overview

Cellular determinants of aging in large and small breeds of dogs

Faculty Sponsor

Ana Jimenez (




Significance of study to canine health:
Cancer fatalities in dogs are 5 times the number due to any other disease. Cells from large breed dogs also exhibit a pronounced shift to a glycolytic metabolic profile typical of tumor phenotypes. Consequently, we believe the data generated from this project could be used to identify potential nutritional or drug interventions targeting pathways through glycolysis or molecularly derived pathways through p53 and SIRT1 that may aid in reducing the propensity for cancer in large breed dogs, thus, for improving their health and longevity. This project builds upon a novel finding from our lab, that is that large breed dogs have higher rates of glycolysis and DNA damage than small breed dogs. While, this metabolic shift is commonly talked about in the human cancer literature, our data is the first to link this pre-cancerous state in large breed dogs. We propose to further investigate exactly where this glycolytic pattern is stemming from in large breed dog cells: is it related to enzymatic function or is it related to other commonly studied molecular pathways such as p53 and SIRT1? If our aims are achieved, we will be able to pinpoint metabolic sites where cancer therapies can be inserted as preventative measures.
We hypothesize that primary fibroblast cells isolated from large breed dogs will show a greater glycolytic rates, thus, rate-limiting glycolytic enzymes will show a higher activity in large breed dogs. We also hypothesize that molecular mechanisms associated with cancer, such as the p53 and SIRT1 pathways, will show a higher concentration in small breed dogs compared with large breed dogs, so as to provide a mechanism for why large breed dogs show higher rates of cancer.

Student Qualifications

Prior tissue culture experience would be preferred, but not necessary. Proficiency at excel is a necessity.

Number of Student Researchers

3 students

Project Length

8 weeks

Applications open on 01/03/2020 and close on 03/11/2020

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If you have questions, please contact Karyn Belanger (