From the very beginning of his career, Eric Gilson has been passionate about repetitive DNA sequences and more particularly those found at the extremity of our chromosomes – the telomeres. One thing led to another and he is now a specialist in the biology of aging.
Gilson is the Director of the Institute for Research on Cancer and Aging* (Ircan) in Nice, which he founded in 2012. It was by focusing on telomeres – strange repetitive DNA sequences located at the extremity of our chromosomes – that led him to develop an interest in the biology of aging and cancer. With every cell division, our telomeres shorten. When they get too short within a cell, the cell stops dividing and the body ages that little bit more. Tumor cells, however, are able to outsmart this program in order to multiply ad infinitum.
Since 2016, Gilson has been coordinating Inserm’s cross-disciplinary scientific program AgeMed (Aged Cells to Medical Applications), a consortium of some twenty French teams whose aim is to help humans live longer in good health.
*unit 1081 Inserm/CNRS/Université Nice Sophia Antipolis