Center on Aging
Lina Obeid, M.D.
Executive Committee Member, Center on Aging
Boyle Professor of Medicine, Departments of Medicine and Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Associate Director of Research Program, Center on Aging
We work with lipid molecules, which were thought to be primarily structural components of cells. We and others have shown that, in fact, they are also functional components whereby they are broken down in a regulated manner on cellular membranes and parts of them transmit messages inside the cell.
We have demonstrated a role for one of these lipids (ceramide) in cell aging and in cell death. We have used yeast genetic techniques to obtain enzymes involved in synthesizing and breaking down these lipids.
Using these yeast genes and the human genome, we have been able to obtain the complementary human genes. These studies in yeast and in human cells have led us to implicate these lipids in cellular stress responses.
Caloric restriction is the only thing that has been demonstrated to prolong life span in several organisms. Though the mechanisms by which this occurs are largely unknown, it is thought that pathways involved in resistance to stress responses (such as oxidative stress, UV irradiation, heat stress, etc.) are potential unifying, underlying mechanisms for prolonging life span.
Our current work is focused on studying the mechanisms by which these lipid molecules mediate cellular stress responses and consequently modulate the aging process.
Dr. Obeid received her M.D. degree from the American University in Beirut in 1983. She did her internship and residency training in medicine at Duke University in North Carolina from 1983 to 1986. Dr. Obeid then performed fellowship training in Endocrinology at Duke coupled with post-doctoral training in Dr. Robert J. Lefkowitz laboratory.
In 1988 Dr. Obeid participated in a faculty re-training in Geriatrics at Duke University and joined the Duke faculty as an instructor. In 1992 she became assistant professor and progressed to associate professor in 1996. In 1998, Dr. Obeid was recruited to the Medical University of South Carolina as the Boyle Professor of Medicine.
Dr. Obeid’s research has focused on the role of novel lipid second messengers in the regulation of apoptosis and senescence. Dr. Obeid has two R01 grants; one of which is funded by the National Institute on Aging. She has a Veteran's Administration Merit Award, which is also related to her work in cell aging.
Dr. Obeid has published more than 170 articles in peer-reviewed journals. She has served on the Research Committee Review board for the American Federation of Aging Research (AFAR), the AFAR (Atlanta Affiliate) and as a permanent member of the NIH Study Section Medical Biochemistry.