Nationality French
Year of selection2008
InstitutionUniversité Paris Diderot - Paris 7
RiskLife risks

Type of support


Granted amount

120 000 €


3 years

One species, different aging

Aging is the result of a trade-off between reproduction and maintenance of the body. Yann Le Cunff is studying individual aging trajectories based on environmental conditions to build mortality curves at the population level.
Ageing is a ubiquitous phenomenon accross species. Surprisingly, extremely different organisms exhibit similar ageing patterns, such as exponentially increasing mortality hazard with age. Based on Evolution and natural selection, we work on providing a unified framework that would account for both similarities and differences between species' mortality curves. Interestingly, not only the model reproduces experimental results for many model organisms but it also exhibits similar transitions than those observed in human mortality data and well-known diet changes experiments.

After majoring in applied mathematics at the Supelec School of Engineering and simultaneously completing the "Interdisciplinary Approaches to Life Sciences" Master's programme, I had the opportunity to meet several figures in the world of science, specialising in a variety of fields (modelling, demographics, cellular biology, mathematics, etc.). I then spent several long weeks holding discussions with these researchers, with a view to preparing the PhD project that I am currently pursuing at the Jacques Monod Institute (UMR 7592) in Paris.

My topic revolves around the notion of the ageing of organisms. In particular, certain experimental laws relating to population mortality have proven to be similar in a number of different organisms, from bacteria to humans. The question therefore arises as to whether global mechanisms exist that have been conserved between species and have led to the emergence of the dynamics of individual ageing. The aim of my work is to shed light on these mechanisms through the mathematical analysis of biological models that were developed for this angle of research.

AXA Fellowship
The AXA Research Fund's support has made it possible for me to pursue this innovative topic and aspire to a number of international collaboration opportunities while continuing in a spirit of interdisciplinary exchange, which is particularly important to me.

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