Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University has received a $3 million grant from the Glenn Foundation for Medical Research to establish the Paul F. Glenn Center for the Biology of Human Aging Research. The grant will fund research to translate recent laboratory and animal discoveries into therapies to slow human aging.
Aging contributes to many of the debilitating and costly diseases - including cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes - that burden the United States and many other countries. This complex but universal condition causes individual cells and the body as a whole to decline in function. Finding the mechanisms that underlie the aging process may lead to treatments that slow aging, prevent or limit common diseases, and allow people to live healthier, longer lives.
"Unless we find protective mechanisms to delay aging, we will not make progress against age-related diseases," said Nir Barzilai, M.D., co-director of the new center as well as director of the Institute for Aging Research, the Ingeborg and Ira Leon Rennert Chair in Aging Research, and professor of medicine and of genetics at Einstein. "With this valuable grant from the Paul F. Glenn Foundation, we hope to make significant advances toward understanding the aging process and improving human health."
"The generosity of Paul F. Glenn and his foundation is a welcome shot in the arm for aging research in the United States, which is chronically underfunded," said Jan Vijg, Ph.D., co-director of the new center, the Lola and Saul Kramer Chair in Molecular Genetics, and professor and chair of genetics and professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences at Einstein. "This grant will help Einstein to maintain its position as one of the world's leaders in this rapidly growing field."
"Paul F. Glenn has been a visionary in aging research for more than 30 years," said Ana Maria Cuervo, M.D., Ph.D., co-director of the new center, the Robert and Ren-e Belfer Chair for the Study of Neurodegenerative Diseases, and professor of developmental and molecular biology, of anatomy and structural biology and of medicine at Einstein. "Some of us got to know him when we were still graduate students and he came to scientific conferences to see the data as it was being developed. Paul's personal approach to science has made a big difference to many of us in the field of aging research and has contributed to the career development of many young investigators."
The funding, in the form of pilot and feasibility study grants, is targeted to several specific research projects: uncovering the genetic and epigenetic mechanisms that protect humans against aging and age-related diseases, testing the effectiveness of the first-generation pro-longevity therapies, and developing novel preventive and therapeutic interventions against cellular aging in humans.
Drs. Barzilai and Cuervo are also co-directors of Einstein's Institute for Aging Research and, together with Dr. Vijg, of the Nathan Shock Center for the Basic Biology of Aging. Both centers are funded by the National Aging Institute, part of the National Institutes for Health.
Other Einstein researchers in the Paul F. Center for the Biology of Human Aging Research include Jill Crandall, M.D.; Mark Einstein M.D., M.S.; Claudia Gravekamp, Ph.D.; John Greally, M.B.B.Ch., Ph.D.; Meredith Hawkins, M.D.; Fernando Macian, M.D., Ph.D.; and Yousin Suh, Ph.D.
Founded in 1965 by Paul F. Glenn, The Glenn Foundation for Medical Research aims to extend the healthy productive years of life through research on the biological mechanisms of aging.
Albert Einstein College of Medicine