Area of Interest

My lab investigates a fundamental question in the field of aging biology: how are offspring, formed from the cells of even very old parents, born young? Germ cells, the reproductive cells of animals, have been proposed to undergo a rejuvenation event, which eliminates parental damage and resets age with each generation. The mechanisms responsible for germline rejuvenation remain largely mysterious. Using advanced imaging techniques, I am tracking age-related damage and quality control machinery in the germ cells of a transparent, genetically-tractable nematode, Caenorhabditis elegans. Recently, I made the exciting discovery that protein aggregates, common hallmarks of aging, are eliminated from C. elegans oocytes just prior to fertilization. This renewal in protein homeostasis (‘proteostasis’) requires sperm-dependent activation of lysosomes, organelles with far-reaching implications for cellular health. By studying how age-related phenotypes are reset in the germline, I hope to understand the molecular basis for transgenerational age-resetting, and to ultimately uncover natural mechanisms by which something old can become young again.

 

Selected Honors and Awards

2014 - 2017 Jane Coffin Childs Postdoctoral Fellowship
2014 Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA F32 Fellowship, NIH (declined)
2008 - 2010 Integrated Biological Systems Training in Oncology T32 Training Grant, NIH and Vanderbilt University
2007 Phi Beta Kappa
2006 - 2007 Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship

 

Selected Publications

KA Bohnert and C Kenyon. A lysosomal switch renews germline proteostasis in C. elegans. (in revision)

AH Willet, NA McDonald, KA Bohnert, MA Baird, JR Allen, MW Davidson, and KL Gould. 2015. The F-BAR Cdc15 promotes contractile ring formation through the direct recruitment of the formin Cdc12. Journal of Cell Biology 208, 391-399.

KA Bohnert, AP Grzegorzewska, AH Willet, CW Vander Kooi, and KL Gould. 2013. SIN-dependent phosphoinhibition of formin multimerization controls fission yeast cytokinesis. Genes and Development 27, 2164-2177. (article recommended by Faculty of 1000)

KA Bohnert and KL Gould. 2012. Cytokinesis-based constraints on polarized cell growth in fission yeast. PLoS Genetics 9, e1003004. (article recommended by Faculty of 1000)

KA Bohnert and KL Gould. 2011. On the cutting edge: post-translational modifications in cytokinesis. Trends in Cell Biology 21, 283-292.

KA Bohnert, JS Chen, DM Clifford, CW Vander Kooi, and KL Gould. 2009. A link between Aurora kinase and Clp1/Cdc14 regulation uncovered by the identification of a fission yeast Borealin-like protein. Molecular Biology of the Cell 20, 3646-3659.