by Buck Institute

The Buck Institute mourns the passing of Paul F. Glenn

Major champion of research on aging

Paul F. Glenn, a successful commodity trader whose philanthropy helped fuel many careers and subsequent discoveries in research on aging, died on September 29th, 2020, at the age of 89.  The Glenn Foundation has invested more than $100 million in the basic biology of aging at research institutes around the country.  There are Paul F. Glenn Centers for the Biology of Aging Research at the Buck Institute, Harvard, Stanford, MIT, the Salk Institute, the Mayo Clinic, Princeton, Einstein College of Medicine and the University of Michigan.

Glenn was one of the founding trustees of the Buck Institute, the first independent research institution in the world focused solely on the biology of aging. His fellow founding trustee, Dr. Jack Rowe, a former professor at Harvard Medical School who later served as Chairman and CEO of Aetna, remembers Glenn for his keen intellect and, especially for a non-scientist, his deep understanding of geroscience. “Paul had an amazing capacity to recognize quality in research and talent in individuals, capabilities that surely helped him in his career as a successful commodities trader.”

An obituary posted on the Glenn Foundation website states that Glenn’s experience as an only grandson of aging grandparents formed the basics of his future philanthropic focus. Established in 1965, when many still dismissed research on aging as pseudoscience,  the organization’s mission is to extend the healthy years of life through research on the mechanisms of biology that govern normal human development and its related physiological decline, with the objective of translating research into interventions that will extend healthspan with lifespan.   

“Paul was a true champion of the basic research that brought our field into the mainstream,” said Eric Verdin, MD, President and CEO of the Buck Institute. “The fact that we are moving discoveries from the lab to the clinic can be traced, in many instances, back to his vision and generosity. We are grateful for his life and his support and will continue to work toward fulfilling the mission of his foundation.”

Glenn endowed his Foundation to carry on its mission in perpetuity.   He was born and raised in Sharon, Pennsylvania and was a graduate of Princeton and Harvard Law School.  He was the youngest member of the American Gerontological Society when he joined. Glenn also served on the Advisory Council of the National Institute on Aging, and was a founding member of the Board of Directors of the American Aging Association and the American Federation for Aging Research.

Science is showing that while chronological aging is inevitable, biological aging is malleable. There's a part of it that you can fight, and we are getting closer and closer to winning that fight.

Eric Verdin, MD, Buck Institute President and CEO

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