NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University will use a $3 million grant to establish a center in its Institute for Aging Research that will focus on molecular and genomic mechanisms that prevent aging-related diseases, and it will aim to translate these discoveries into new treatments.
The funding from the Glenn Foundation for Medical Research, which was launched by Paul Glenn, chairman and a director of the venture capital firm Cycad Group, in 1965, will be used to establish the Paul F. Glenn Center for the Biology of Human Aging Research.
The funding will support pilot and feasibility studies in several research areas, including efforts to find out which genetic and epigenetic mechanisms are involved in protecting humans against aging and age-related diseases, testing the effectiveness of new therapies to enhance longevity, and to develop interventions against cellular aging in humans.
The larger aim of the research is to find ways to combat cellular aging that leads to a decline in function, and it could lead to new methods to help people stay healthier as they age and to live longer.
"Unless we find protective mechanisms to delay aging, we will not make progress against age-related diseases," Nir Barzilai, co-director of the new center and director of the Institute of Aging Research, said in a statement.
At the institute, Barzilai has led the Longevity Genes Project, a study of more than 500 healthy elderly people between the ages of 95 and 112, which seeks to identify genes and other traits that may be involved in longevity.
The new center's other co-director, Professor Jan Vijg, also is director of the institute's Genomics and Epigenomics of Aging Core facility. The core provides whole-genome association data from centenarians to help researchers assess the potential longevity genes they are interested in studying, and it provides sequence enrichment for next-generation re-sequencing of candidate gene regions and genome-wide DNA methylation analysis.
"This grant will help Einstein to maintain its position as one of the world's leaders in this rapidly growing field," Vijg said.