Eyleen Jorgelina O'Rourke


Primary Appointment

Associate Professor of Biology, Biology

Research Disciplines

Biochemistry, Bioinformatics and Genomics, Cardiovascular Biology, Cell and Developmental Biology, Computational Biology, Development, Stem Cells & Regeneration, Genetics, Metabolism, Molecular Biology

Research Interests

Obesity and Aging

Research Description

All the way up to the 20th century, the human genome has been optimized to survive in environments characterized by fluctuations between periods of feast and famine. These survivor-genomes clash with an environment where calorie-rich foods are readily available. Based on the premise that the gene networks that allow animals to endure starvation are under strong selective pressure and consequently conserved, we use a combination of cutting-edge functional genomics, biochemical, cell biology, genetic, physiological and bioinformatics (computational biology) approaches to identify and characterize the conserved gene networks that allow the animal model Caenorhabditis elegans to adapt to changes in food availability. Ultimately, our research would contribute to better understanding how dysfunctional gene networks affect or cause obesity, diabetes, and other age-related diseases.


  • Basic Cardiovascular Research Training Grant
  • Biotechnology Training Grant
  • Training in Cell and Molecular Biology

Selected Publications


Ke, W., Saba, J. A., Yao, C. -H., Hilzendeger, M. A., Drangowska-Way, A., Joshi, C., . . . O'Rourke, E. J. (2020). Dietary serine-microbiota interaction enhances chemotherapeutic toxicity without altering drug conversion. NATURE COMMUNICATIONS, 11(1). doi:10.1038/s41467-020-16220-w


Ke, W., Drangowska-Way, A., Katz, D., Siller, K., & O'Rourke, E. J. (2018). The Ancient Genetic Networks of Obesity: Whole-Animal Automated Screening for Conserved Fat Regulators. PHENOTYPIC SCREENING, 1787, 129-146. doi:10.1007/978-1-4939-7847-2_10


Mony, V. K., Benjamin, S., & O'Rourke, E. J. (2016). A lysosome-centered view of nutrient homeostasis. AUTOPHAGY, 12(4), 619-631. doi:10.1080/15548627.2016.1147671

Klionsky, D. J., Abdelmohsen, K., Abe, A., Abedin, M. J., Abeliovich, H., Arozena, A. A., . . . Zughaier, S. M. (2016). Guidelines for the use and interpretation of assays for monitoring autophagy (3rd edition). AUTOPHAGY, 12(1), 1-222. doi:10.1080/15548627.2015.1100356


Zhang, H., Chang, J. T., Guo, B., Hansen, M., Jia, K., Kovacs, A. L., . . . Wu, F. (2015). Guidelines for monitoring autophagy in Caenorhabditis elegans. AUTOPHAGY, 11(1), 9-27. doi:10.1080/15548627.2014.1003478


Wahlby, C., Conery, A. L., Bray, M. -A., Kamentsky, L., Larkins-Ford, J., Sokolnicki, K. L., . . . O'Rourke, E. J. (2014). High- and low-throughput scoring of fat mass and body fat distribution in C-elegans. METHODS, 68(3), 492-499. doi:10.1016/j.ymeth.2014.04.017