The Paul F. Glenn Center for Biology of Aging Research

Interdisciplinary collaborations aimed at solving specific problems in research in aging.

Since it was founded in 1965 the Glenn Foundation for Medical Research has supported basic research to better understand the biology that governs normal human aging and related physiological decline, with the objective of developing interventions that will extend the healthy years of human life. The Buck Institute and the Glenn Foundation have partnered to create the Paul F. Glenn Center for Biology of Aging Research at the Buck Institute. The Center pursues up to eight projects at any one time focused on discovering mechanisms of aging and their relationship to chronic conditions of aging. Projects are interdisciplinary collaborations between at least two Center laboratories aimed at solving specific problems in research in aging and training talented postdoctoral fellows to become future leaders in the field.

The Glenn Medical Foundation co-sponsored the 30th anniversary of the biology of aging research symposium and continues to sponsor the Bay Area Aging Meeting (BAAM) and the Gordon Research Conference on the Biology of Aging

Eric Verdin, MD – Program Director
Martin Brand, PhD – Chair
Jennifer Garrison, PhD – Committee Member
Gordon Lithgow, PhD – Committee Member

  • Julie Andersen, PhD  Professor, Buck Institute

    On the road to new therapeutics for neurodegeneration, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

    JAndersen@buckinstitute.org

  • Chris Benz, MD  Professor, Buck Institute

    Undertaking bench-to-bedside and community efforts to reduce the incidence of breast cancer and improve patient outcomes.

    CBenz@buckinstitute.org

  • Martin Brand, PhD  Professor, Buck Institute

    Exploring altered energy metabolism and free radical production in aging and disease.

    MBrand@buckinstitute.org

  • Rachel Brem, PhD  Associate Professor, Buck Institute

    Understanding how and why traits differ between individuals and discovering genetic changes that impact aging behaviors.

    RBrem@buckinstitute.org

  • Judy Campisi, PhD  Professor, Buck Institute

    Taming cellular senescence, the source of chronic inflammation implicated in major age-related diseases.

    JCampisi@buckinstitute.org

  • Lisa Ellerby, PhD  Professor, Buck Institute

    Understanding the pathways that lead to nerve cell death in Huntington’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders.

    LEllerby@buckinstitute.org

  • Jennifer Garrison, PhD  Assistant Professor, Buck Institute

    Understanding how a breakdown in homeostasic brain circuits leads to organismal aging.

    JGarrison@buckinstitute.org

  • Pejmun Haghighi, PhD  Professor, Buck Institute

    Tuning neural function as it relates to aging and age-related diseases.

    PHaghighi@buckinstitute.org

  • Henry Jasper, PhD  Professor, Buck Institute

    Enhancing stem cell function to promote longevity.

    HJasper@buckinstitute.org

  • Pankaj Kapahi, PhD  Professor, Buck Institute

    Understanding the role of nutrition and energy metabolism in lifespan and disease.

    PKapahi@buckinstitute.org

  • Brian Kennedy, PhD  Professor, Buck Institute

    Moving research in aging from simple organisms into mammals to improve human health.

    BKennedy@buckinstitute.org

  • Gordon Lithgow, PhD  Professor & Chief Academic Officer, Buck Institute

    Uncovering genes and small molecules that prolong lifespan through enhanced molecular stability.

    GLithgow@buckinstitute.org

  • Simon Melov, PhD  Professor, Buck Institute

    Identifying molecular hallmarks of aging to guide the development of anti-aging therapies.

    SMelov@buckinstitute.org

  • John Newman, MD, PhD  Assistant Professor, Buck Institute

    Harnessing metabolic signals to treat geriatric syndromes of aging.

    JNewman@buckinstitute.org

  • Arvind Ramanathan, PhD  Assistant Professor, Buck Institute

    Understanding the molecular physiology of skeletal muscle regeneration, aging, and the formation of tumors.

    ARamanathan@buckinstitute.org

  • Birgit Schilling, PhD  Assistant Professor, Buck Institute

    Uncovering how protein pathways are implicated in aging and disease.

    BSchilling@buckinstitute.org

  • Tara Tracy, PhD  Assistant Professor, Buck Institute

    Investigating the mechanisms that promote memory loss in Alzheimer’s disease and other age-related dementias.

    TTracy@buckinstitute.org

  • Eric Verdin, MD  President & CEO, Buck Institute

    Understanding epigenetic regulators of the aging process.

    EVerdin@buckinstitute.org

  • Xianmin Zeng, PhD  Professor, Buck Institute

    Developing stem cell–based treatments for neurodegenerative disorders.

    XZeng@buckinstitute.org

  • Kai Zhou, PhD  Fellow, Buck Instititute

    Understanding the plasticity and homeostasis of the cellular proteome under stress conditions and aging.

    KZhou@buckinstitute.org

Juniper Pennypacker
Chief of Staff

JPennypacker@buckinstitute.org
Phone: 415-209-2249

The major goal of the Paul F. Glenn Center for Biology of Aging Research at the Buck Institute is to encourage and support new interdisciplinary activities at the Institute that will build on existing expertise, while identifying and exploiting synergies with the promise of major breakthroughs in geroscience. We anticipate the impact of these breakthroughs to range from the conceptual to the translational: developing a deeper understanding of the aging process, identifying new targets for  potential interventions, and developing and testing intervention strategies. The Center will foster novel collaborations between multiple laboratories with  the goal of making a real impact in geroscience.

Our program leans on the ‘Seven Pillars of Aging’ identified by the NIH Geroscience Initiative: Metabolism, Macromolecular Damage, Epigenetics, Inflammation, Adaptation to Stress, Proteostasis, and Stem cells and Regeneration. In addition to the seven pillars of aging,  we recognize that the mechanisms driving aging are inter-connected. For instance, macromolecular damage can lead to cellular senescence, promoting localized inflammation.  Thus, while it is important to identify and elaborate the pillars of aging themselves, it is also critical to understand how they are connected and what might trigger the earliest events in the aging process. Given our focus on geroscience and our collaborative nature, the Buck Institute is in an ideal position to understand how aging pathways are related and to begin to establish a systems level understanding of aging.

Projects are reviewed and selected by the Glenn Center Executive Committee and representative Buck Institute faculty based on the project’s research potential and the caliber of the postdoctoral fellow it will support. Fellows serve a period of two to three years each depending on progress and the project requirements. Fellowship Stipends are commensurate with experience and follow NIH recommended postdoctoral stipend levels. Trainees gain knowledge in the mechanisms of biological aging and its relationship to chronic disease. They gain skills in critical thinking to evaluate new research findings and in written and verbal skills that enrich their publications, grant proposals, and oral presentations. Ongoing seminar series, basic science and clinical lectures, well-organized journal clubs, and research meetings provide up-to-date information and intellectual cross-fertilization that can lead to the next wave of major discoveries in the field.

Projects must have the following components:

  • A novel project that addresses connectivity between at least two of the pillars of aging.
  • Collaborative science with a primary mentor and a co-mentor having expertise in two areas of aging.
  • Projects of two-year duration, with a third year subject to demonstration of significant progress.
  • Proposals reviewed by an internal panel of investigators at the Buck Institute and with involvement of the Glenn Foundation, if desired.
  • Emphasis on the development of translational approaches to extend human healthspan will be viewed favorably, subject to compliance with other requirements.
  1. Mechanisms of neuropeptide inactivation
    PIs: Garrison, Schilling. Postdoc: Jacqueline Lo, PhD
  2. Revealing the role of EP300 in autophagy and aging by using a lifespan-extending small molecule NDGA
    PIs: Verdin, Lithgow. Postdoc: Tugsan Tezil, PhD
  3. Pro-geronic factors produced by senescent cells as therapeutic targets for aging
    PIs: Campisi, Schilling, Newman, Conboy. Postdoc: Okhee Jeon, PhD
  4. Novel genome-wide screening methods for genes that affect aging in C. elegans
    PIs: Brem, Garrison. Postdoc: Wenke Wang, PhD
  5. Mitochondrial factors regulate the formation and dissolution of protein aggregate
    PIs: Zhou, Schilling. Postdoc: Qingqing Liu, PhD
  6. Age-dependent neurodegeneration in PD: Role of LRRK2 and translation
    PIs: Haghighi, Ellerby. Postdoc: Suzana Benitez, PhD
  7. Role of lysine succinylation in macrophage polarization and aging-associated inflammation
    PIs: Verdin, Schilling. Postdoc: Ran Zhang, PhD
  8. Inhibiting development of the senescence associated secretory phenotype (SASP) by targeting mitochondrial superoxide production
    PIs: Brand and Campisi. Postdoc: Yufeng Zhang, PhD/Bijoya Sen PhD

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