Science Alumni Spotlight: Collin Ewald

December 3, 2018

Headshot: Collin Ewald

Dr. Collin Ewald is Assistant Professor at the Institute of Translational Medicine, Department of Health Sciences and Technology, ETH Zürich, Switzerland. Collin began his career in molecular biology as a master’s research associate at the University of Basel, Switzerland. There he first became interested in studying the process of aging using C. elegans as a biological model, what would eventually become the focus of his career as an independent scientist. This early experience also led him to develop an interest in the field of neuroscience.

To pursue opportunities in neuroscience and aging, Collin traveled to New York and joined the PhD Program in Biology at the CUNY Graduate Center. Here, with his faculty mentor, Professor Christine Li at City College, he studied the effects of aging and the development of Alzheimer’s disease using C. elegans as a model and building on his prior experience with this model system. Collin published several high impact first author papers during his PhD work that addressed how C. elegans homologues related to Alzheimer’s disease causing proteins in humans affect lifespan, sensory responses and metabolism.
After his highly successful graduate career, Collin joined the lab of Dr. Keith Blackwell at the Joslin Diabetes Center, Harvard Medical School for his postdoctoral work. Here he focused on the role of stress and signaling responses in longevity, again building on his extensive background in C. elegans biology. He continued his successful trajectory with several more first author papers including one in Nature.

In 2016, Collin was appointed to a faculty position at ETH Zürich, where he heads an active research group expanding on the discoveries he made as a postdoc. In particular, Collin is interested in the role of extracellular matrix composition  in extending the lifespan of C. elegans. In this short time as a principal investigator, Collin has published several additional papers and has obtained significant amounts of funding to support his research.

Looking back, Collin recalls his time in the CUNY Biology PhD program as a time where his developing interests in C. elegans as a biological model for aging were fostered by the extremely supportive relationship with his PhD advisor, Dr. Li, as well as the enriching and collegial environment at City College.