USC- Buck Institute Nathan Shock Center of Excellence

The USC-Buck Institute Nathan Shock Center is an innovative program of activities with a strong emphasis on training the next generation of aging researchers.

The USC-Buck Nathan Shock Center of Excellence in the Biology of Aging is a new and fully integrated multi-institutional center focused on training the next generation of geroscientists and providing access to cutting edge geroscience technologies to investigators across the nation.

The USC-Buck NSC aims to provide intellectual leadership and innovation in aging biology and to collaborate substantially with other NSC’s and the Nathan Shock Center’s Coordinating Center currently run by the American Federation for Aging Research. The USC-Buck NSC is devoted to forging a deeper understanding of how and why aging processes cause disease in order to advance the translation of basic research on aging into effective preventions and therapies. Specialized cores provide services to all Shock Center members, as well as for-fee services to the community at large.

The Buck Institute is an independent, free-standing Institute with a laser focus on aging at a phase of rapid growth and USC is a major research university that encompasses all research pillars of aging with extensive resources associated with a large research-focused university. The unique nature of our research infrastructure, which constitutes one of the largest collections of leaders in geroscience research within the US, ensures that the USC-Buck NSC will be an integrated organization that is representative of the wide breadth of topics encompassed by the biology of aging field.

Together, the USC-Buck Nathan Shock Center is greater than the sum of its parts.

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The USC – Buck Institute Nathan Shock Center of Excellence is pleased to acknowledge the generous support of the Division of Aging Biology through the National Institute on Aging (grant #: P30AG068345).

USC-Buck Cores:

Administrative/Program Enrichment Core (APEC)

The Administrative/Program Enrichment Core (APEC) led by Drs. Gordon J. Lithgow and Sean P. Curran aims to integrate the USC-Buck NSC across USC and the Buck Institute for Research on Aging will include more than 61 NIA-supported investigators, six NIA-funded research centers, four NIA T32s, and several additional aging research centers of excellence. The core provides infrastructure support and leadership to the USC-Buck NSC cores, access to essential resources, coordination with other NSCs across the nation, and procurement of matching institutional financial support exceeding $1 million over 5 years.

The Research Development Core (RDC)

The Research Development Core (RDC) led by Drs. Julie K. Andersen and Kelvin Davies will provide training in state-of-the-art methodologies, coordinate Research Sabbaticals in Aging and mentorship opportunities with world-class faculty and educational opportunities. The core will identify pilot project opportunities from a nation-wide search that provides access to all USC-Buck NSC Cores. The goal of this Core is to provide future aging researchers access to the wealth of experience, expertise, and resources at both campuses. These efforts are modeled after our successful joint Biology of Aging PhD program.

The Genomic Translation Across Species Core (GTASC)

The Genomic Translation Across Species Core (GTASC) Core, led by Drs. Eileen Crimmins and Em Arpawong at USC, will overcome a historical barrier of connecting geroscience research in model systems to human health and aging. The core will provide researchers utilizing model-organisms (yeast, worms, flies, fish, and mice) the ability to interrogate a rich resource of human genomic SNP, methylation, and expression data from the NIH Health and Retirement Study (HRS). Analyses of gene-environment and gene-gene interactions and human Phenotype-Wide Association Scans (PheWAS) will provide important results in the context of human aging and facilitate innovative research directions across models.

The Cellular Senescence and Beyond Core (CSBC)

The Cellular Senescence and Beyond Core (CSBC), led by Drs. Judith Campisi and Birgit Schilling at the Buck Institute, will determine how specific cell fates (e.g. senescence, apoptosis, competition) contribute to aging and methods of intervention across models (e.g. cultured cells, organoids, tissue and organ samples, and organisms). The Core will help researchers characterize both cell-autonomous and non-autonomous features of these cell fates, provide established assays, and give advice regarding intervention strategies.

The Geroscience Technology Core (GTC)

The Geroscience Technology Core (GTC), led by Drs. Valter Longo and Simon Melov, will provide vouchers for access to a range of technology platforms and deep expertise in many aspects of aging. This will include access to all existing institutional technology and expertise across various model systems at both institutions. Unique capabilities include studies of air pollution exposure, female reproductive aging, and cutting-edge technologies for single-cell analyses, mitochondria and metabolism, and bioinformatics.

  • Eric Verdin, MD  Leadership
    Director, Buck Institute
  • Pinchas “Hassy” Cohen, MD  Leadership
    Director, USC
  • Gordon Lithgow, PhD  Administrative Core
    Director, Buck Institute
  • Sean Curran, PhD  Administrative Core
    Director, USC
  • Julie Andersen, PhD  Research Development Core (RDC)
    Core Leader, Buck Institute
  • Kelvin Davies, PhD  Research Development Core (RDC)
    Core Leader, USC
  • Judy Campisi, PhD  Cellular Senescence and Beyond Core (CSBC)
    Director, Buck Institute
  • Birgit Schilling, PhD  Cellular Senescence and Beyond Core (CSBC)
    Director, Buck Institute
  • Eileen Crimmins, PhD  Genomic Translation Across Species Core (GTAS)
    Director, USC
  • T. Em Arpawong, PhD, MPH  Genomic Translation Across Species Core (GTAS)
    Director, USC
  • Simon Melov, PhD  Geroscience Technology Core (GTC)
    Director, Buck Institute
  • Valter Longo  Geroscience Technology Core (GTC)
    Director, USC
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