Kris Verburgh graduated as a medical doctor from the University of Antwerp.
He is researcher at the ‘Center Leo Apostel for Interdisciplinary Studies’ (CLEA) at the Free University Brussels (VUB), an interdisciplinary and interuniversity research center, where researchers from various disciplines commit themselves to scientific questions that extend across different fields.
Dr. Verburgh’s research interests are the aging process (biogerontology), evolutionary medicine, metabolism and nutrition.
He researches diets, foods, nutrients, medications and other interventions that can extend (healthy) lifespan and reduce the risk of aging-related diseases like cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, vascular dementia, …), sarcopenia (muscle loss), macular degeneration, osteoporosis, etc.
His specific biogerontological interests are mTOR (mammalian or mechanistic Target of Rapamycin), the insulin/insulin-like growth factor signaling (ISS) pathway, protein agglomeration, amyloidosis, autophagy, mitochondrial dysfunction, advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs), membrane senescence, lysosomal dysfunction, etc.
He examines how insights from the biogerontological field can be used to asses and predict the efficacy of dietary, nutritional or medical interventions aimed at reducing the risk of aging-related diseases and increasing healthy life span.
In addition, Dr. Verburgh has a keen interest in evolution, the origin and complexity of life, and neuroscience (consciousness, neurotheology, neuroesthetics, theory of mind and the origins of creativity) and has written two books on those subjects.
What kind of therapeutical interventions can extend (healthy) life span and why? (Image source: Rapamycin fed late in life extends lifespan in genetically heterogeneous mice, Nature, 2009)
Which mechanisms regulate the aging process? (Image source: Brain IRS2 signaling coordinates life span and nutrient homeostasis, Science, 2007)
What kinds of foods can reduce the risk of aging-related diseases? (Image source: Red meat consumption and mortality: results from 2 prospective cohort studies, Archives of internal medicine, 2012)
Contrary to countless health books and magazines, most antioxidants don’t extend life span. And the few substances that do extend average life span do so not because of their antioxidant activity (Image source: Mortality in Randomized Trials of Antioxidant Supplements for Primary and Secondary Prevention, Journal of the American Medical Association, 2007).
Foods like dark chocolate contain compounds that can reduce the risk of a heart attack or Alzheimer’s disease via various mechanisms (Source: Chocolate consumption and cardiometabolic disorders: systematic review and meta-analysis, British Medical Journal, 2011. Image: WikiCommons).