The Glenn Foundation for Medical Research has pledged $5 million over five years to establish a new laboratory in MIT’s Department of Biology to study aging.
The new Glenn Laboratory for the Science of Aging will be directed by MIT Professor Leonard Guarente, a pioneer in the biology of aging.
“This generous gift from the Glenn Foundation will enable us to expand and intensify the study of critical regulators of aging, such as sirtuins,” Guarente said. “This work may lead to interventions to extend the healthy, productive period of our lives and forestall frailty and diseases.”
Guarente’s laboratory at MIT explores the mechanisms of aging. His work seeks to discover why we age, what genes influence longevity, and whether it is possible to extend youthfulness by means of genetic manipulation.
Guarente’s work led to the discovery that the SIR2 gene is a key regulator of longevity in yeast and worms. He later found a link between the products of the SIR2 gene, known as sirtuins, and calorie restriction.
“I am delighted that the Glenn Foundation has chosen to build on breathtaking discoveries in Professor Guarente’s laboratory with this extraordinary gift for basic research,” said Marc Kastner, dean of MIT’s School of Science. “Paul F. Glenn has been a champion for many years in the quest to understand the biology of aging, and we are grateful for his foundation’s generosity and his confidence that Professor Guarente’s lab at MIT will advance this important field.”
The mission of the Glenn Foundation, founded in 1965 by Paul F. Glenn, is to extend the healthy productive years of life through research on the mechanisms of biological aging.
“We are proud of our association with MIT and Dr. Guarente, whose work is to understand the biology of aging toward the discovery of interventions to maintain health throughout life,” said Mark R. Collins, president of the Glenn Foundation.
The foundation has also established laboratories at Harvard Medical School, co-directed by David Sinclair, a former postdoctoral associate in Guarente’s laboratory.