First Person is a series of interviews with the first authors of a selection of papers published in Biology Open, helping early-career researchers promote themselves alongside their papers. Deng-Tai Wen is first author on ‘Endurance exercise protects aging Drosophila from high-salt diet (HSD)-induced climbing capacity decline and lifespan decrease by enhancing antioxidant capacity’, published in BiO. Deng-Tai conducted the research described in this article while a PhD student in the sports science-exercise, aging and genetics lab at Ludong University, Yantai, China, investigating the role of exercise in medicine.
What is your scientific background and the general focus of your lab?
My scientific background is in sports science, and the general focus of my lab is exercise, aging and genetics.
How would you explain the main findings of your paper to non-scientific family and friends?
In humans, as in fruit flies, excessive consumption of salty foods can cause disease and death, but exercise can protect us from disease and death induced by salty food.
What are the potential implications of these results for your field of research?
I think that it could lead to more genes and molecular pathways associated with exercise promoting health being discovered.
What has surprised you the most while conducting your research?
What has surprised me the most is that genetic factors play a regulatory role in exercise adaptation.
What, in your opinion, are some of the greatest achievements in your field and how has this influenced your research?
Exercise and nutrition play an important role in the regulation of aging, while heredity plays a key role in this process. I will gradually move from the study of overall aging to the study of tissue and organ aging.
What changes do you think could improve the professional lives of early-career scientists?
I think it's important for early-career scientists to make sure that they remember that practice and taking care while conducting experiments will lead to many new discoveries.
What's next for you?
Following on from my work in this paper, I am looking at researching the roles of the salt gene and exercise in the aging processes of the heart, skeletal muscle and the brain.
Deng-Tai Wen's contact details: Ludong University, Yantai 264025, Shan Dong Province, China.