ASHLEY S. WILLIAMS
Overview of My Research
Female reproductive success naturally declines with increasing age, however, whether the cost of reproduction reduces longevity of an individual is still a matter requiring greater investigation. Reproduction and lactation are highly energetically demanding processes likely sequestering energy from mitochondria. I investigate how mitochondria are affected by reproduction and how that ultimately influences longevity. To do this, I maintain a colony of Mus musculus in semi-natural enclosures and monitor the body temperatures for reproductive and non-reproductive female mice, and I test their mitochondrial respiratory capacity, physical fitness, and look for markers of oxidative damages, senescence markers, and the types of mutations present in the liver, brain, and skeletal muscle tissues. I also collect the same data from animals of different age groups in a more traditional laboratory setting to understand how ageing influences mitochondrial function and performance.
I am an up-and-coming Black Female Scientist and Researcher. Although I began my higher education career obtaining my Bachelors in Anthropology from Florida International University, I always knew science is where I could put my problem-solving and detective skills to work. After homing in on my organizational, professional, and administrative skills working as a file clerk for 2 years at a Real Estate Law Firm, I went onward to obtain my Masters in Biological Sciences concentrating in microbial sciences from Alabama A&M University working in a mycology lab learning and investigating the minimum inhibitory concentration of essential plant oils against common fungal contaminants such as Neurospora crassa, Aureobasidium pullulans, and Candida albicans for an ALSAMP student project under Dr. Jeanette Jones. While there I was fortunate enough to also be able to work for a summer on an antibiotic resistance project studying mutant prevention concentration values against strains of multi-drug resistant Staphylococcus epidermidis at UCLA with Dr. Pamela Yeh. I am currently a PhD student at Auburn University in Dr. Wendy Hood’s lab studying mitochondrial function, performance, and genomic maintenance in the context of the reproduction and longevity tradeoff in wild-derived Mus musculus. If you are interested in knowing more about my current research or past research, please feel free to review my publications list. For something less formal, check out my blogs and social media handles.
AN ECOLOGIST’S GUIDE TO MITOCHONDRIAL DNA MUTATIONS AND SENESCENCE
June 5, 2019
This paper lays the foundation behind the theory of my dissertation research indicating mutations from replication error of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) plasmids over an individual's lifetime and not freed radical damage might lead to cellular senescence, and that such a mechanism should be considered by Ecologists who tradeoffs between reproduction and longevity in the context of mitochondrial theory of ageing and the free radical theory of ageing.