Advisory Board

Professor Robert J. Shmookler Reis

Robert J. Shmookler Reis, D.Phil. is Professor, Departments of Geriatrics, Biochemistry/Molecular Biology, and Pharmacology/Toxicology and is Research Career Scientist, Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare Service, McClellan Veterans Medical Center, Little Rock, Arkansas.
 
Robert’s has focused on the molecular genetics of longevity and age-associated diseases, using both previously defined mutations and gene mapping. He was trained in Drosophila and mammalian genetics, adding C. elegans in 1989 as a model system in which to develop gene mapping methods to begin to characterize genes that modulate longevity.
 
He was a pioneer in this area, mapping over 27 highly-significant loci for lifespan, resistance to oxidative stresses, and Darwinian fitness. In mammalian genetics, his team was the first to identify the Pirin gene on the X chromosome as a determinant of post-menopausal bone loss in women, a discovery that was recently confirmed in a Chinese population.
 
Robert also has a long-standing research program on the role of homologous recombination in the early etiology and subsequent progression of myeloma, prostate, and breast cancers. He was the first to note that cells from many different cancer types feature very high levels of homologous recombination, and high expression of the Rad51 recombinase complex that mediates it. He is now working to understand how that contributes to cancer progression, and how we might prevent new recombinations that lead to relapses in which cancers develop resistance to treatments that initially appeared to be succeeding.
 
His papers include Remarkable longevity and stress resistance of nematode PI3K-null mutants, Variability of DNA methylation patterns during serial passage of human diploid fibroblasts, Telomerase inhibition and cell growth arrest by G-quadruplex interactive agent in multiple myeloma, Interclonal variation in methylation patterns for expressed and non-expressed genes, Genetic Loci Modulating Fitness and Life Span in Caenorhabditis elegans: Categorical Trait Interval Mapping in CL2a x Bergerac-BO Recombinant-Inbred Worms, and Diverse Gene Sequences Are Overexpressed in Werner Syndrome Fibroblasts Undergoing Premature Replicative Senescence.
 
Robert earned his B.A. in Harvard University, USA and his D.Phil. at the University of Sussex, UK.
 
Read Reis Accepts Highest UAMS Honor; Udupa Reflects on Journey.