Buck Institute CEO Brian Kennedy, PhD, has been named a Senior Scholar in Aging by the Ellison Medical Foundation. The prestigious award, which comes with a four-year $600,000 grant, will allow Kennedy to move longevity research now underway in yeast and worms into mice.
Kennedy is interested in understanding why reduced gene expression in ribosomes enhances longevity in yeast and worms — ribosomes are tiny organelles that occur within the cell and are involved in the production of proteins. Kennedy wants to understand all the mechanisms involved in that lifespan extension and to see if those same mechanisms are active in mice. The research is aimed at determining whether the reduced gene expression promotes healthspan and delays the onset of age-related diseases in the mice.
“Armed with this knowledge, it may be possible to develop human therapeutics that mimic activities within the cell,” said Kennedy. “This would give us another targeted approach to our efforts to extend the healthy years of life. ... I am very grateful to the Ellison Foundation for this honor and for the fact that they fund research that is not usually supported by traditional sources.”
The Ellison Medical Foundation supports basic biomedical research, with a current focus on understanding how humans and other organisms age, and on defining the fundamental biological mechanisms that prevent age-related diseases and disabilities. The Foundation particularly aims to stimulate new, creative research approaches that might not be funded by traditional sources or that has been neglected by existing U.S. research funding programs.