Glenn/AFAR Breakthroughs in Gerontology Awards

Sponsored by the Glenn Foundation for Medical Research, in collaboration with the American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR), the "Breakthroughs in Gerontology (BIG)" initiative provided timely support to a small number of research projects which if successful offer significant promise of yielding transforming discoveries in the fundamental biology of aging. Up to two awards were given each year from 2005 through 2022. No new applications were accepted after 2022.


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2022 BIG Award Recipients

Edward Chouchani, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute: Defining the functional landscape of protein redox regulation during aging
Omer Yilmaz, M.D., Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology: The role of dysregulated methionine metabolism in the aged intestinal stem cell stromal niche

2021 BIG Award Recipients

Bradley Olwin, Ph.D.
Professor, University of Colorado: Improving Skeletal Muscle Stem Cell Health to Rescue Age-Induced Decline of Skeletal Muscle Function
Andrey Tsvetkov, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, The University of Texas McGovern Medical School at Houston: G-quadruplex RNA and G-quadruplex RNA helicases in senescent astrocytes

2020 BIG Award Recipients

Malene Hansen, Ph.D.
Professor, Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute: Non-canonical functions of autophagy genes in organismal lifespan
Vittorio Sebastiano, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Stanford School of Medicine: Epigenetic Reprogramming of cellular Aging: a novel paradigm to treat aging and aging-associated diseases

2019 BIG Award Recipients

Ursula Jakob, Ph.D.
Professor, University of Michigan: Role of early epigenetic events in stress resistance and lifespan
Norbert Perrimon, Ph.D.
Professor of Genetics, Blavatnik Institute, Harvard Medical School: Regulation of the aging process by molecules and pathways involved in organ communication

2018 BIG Award Recipients

Peter Adams, Ph.D.
Professor, Sanford-Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute – Testing the role of barriers to reprogramming in chromostasis and longevity
M. Brandon Westover, M.D., Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital – Electroencephalogram-based Brain Age and its Relation with Cognitive Function and Sleep Quality

2017 BIG Award Recipients

Pinchas Cohen, M.D.
Dean, Davis School of Gerontology at the University of Southern California – Characterization of the Healthspan Promoting Activity of the Mitochondrial Peptide Humanin
William Mair, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health – The role of RNA splicing in TORC1 physiology in mammals

2016 BIG Award Recipients

Rozalyn Anderson, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, University of Wisconsin, Madison – The Role of GSK3beta in neuronal metabolism in the aging brain
Shin-Ichiro Imai, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor, Washington University School of Medicine – The role of adipose tissue in the systemic regulation of mammalian aging and longevity

2015 BIG Award Recipients

David Marcinek, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, University of Washington Medical Center – Mitochondrial oxidative stress alters aged muscle function through oxidation of the thiol proteome
David Sabatini M.D., Ph.D.
Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology – Reversing age-associated deterioration in intestinal stem and niche cells by targeting the mTORC1 and PPARo signaling pathways

2014 BIG Award Recipients

Stephen Helfand, M.D.
Professor of Biology, Brown University – Chromatin-regulated activation of retrotransposable elements – a novel molecular mechanism of aging
Heinrich Jasper, Ph.D.
Professor, Buck Institute for Research on Aging – Host/Commensal interactions and the age-related decline of intestinal proliferative homeostasis

2013 BIG Award Recipients

Giovanni Bosco, Ph.D.
California Institute of Technology: A novel protein disaggregase – from molecular mechanisms to novel cures
Amy Pasquinelli, Ph.D.
University of California, San Diego – Collapse of the MicroRNA Pathway During Aging

2012 BIG Award Recipients

James Kirkland, MD, PhD
Noaber Foundation Professor of Aging Research, Mayo Clinic: INK-ER-Cre mice: a novel tool for uncovering how senescent cells cause age-related dysfunction
Shu-ou Shan, PhD, Professor of Chemistry
California Institute of Technology: A novel protein disaggregase – from molecular mechanisms to novel cures

2011 BIG Award Recipients

Thomas Johnson, PhD, Professor
University of Colorado, Boulder: Dissection of the Stochastic Mechanisms Underlying Differential Longevity in Isogenic Populations of C. elegans
William Sonntag, PhD, Professor
University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center: Mechanisms for the Early Pleiotropic Actions of IGF-1 on Aging

2010 BIG Award Recipients

Daniel Promislow, PhD, Professor
University of Georgia: Causes and Consequences of Aging in Metabolomic Networks
Peter S. Rabinovitch, MD, PhD, Professor
University of Washington: Next Generation Discovery of MTOR Effects on Mrna Translation and the Proteome in Aging

2009 BIG Award Recipients

Rochelle Buffenstein, PhD, Professor
University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio: Mechanisms of Aging in the Longest-lived Rodent: the Role of Nrf2 Mediated Detoxification Processes
Luigi Fontana, MD, PhD, Research Associate Professor of Medicine
Washington University School of Medicine: Calorie Restriction and Gene Expression in Humans

2007 BIG Award Recipients

Rolf Bodmer, Ph.D., Professor
The Burnham Institute: “Genetic Control of Cardiac Aging”
Eduardo Nunes Chini, M.D., Ph.D., Consultant
Mayo Clinic, School of Medicine: “The role of the CD38/NAD glycohydrolase as a regulator of longevity”
Kathleen Collins, Ph.D., Professor
University of California, Berkeley: “Telomerase Regulation as a Cause of Human Hemtopoietic Stem Cell Aging”
Matt Kaeberlein, Ph.D., Assistant Professor
University of Washington: “Sensory Mechanisms of Dietary Restriction in Caenorhabditis elegans”

2006 BIG Award Recipients

Pankaj Kapahi, Ph.D., Assistant Professor
Buck Institute for Age Research
Gordon Lithgow, Ph.D., Associate Professor
Buck Institute for Age Research
Gerald S. Shadel, Ph.D., Associate Professor
Yale University
Frank Slack, Ph.D., Associate Professor
Yale University

2005 BIG Award Recipients

Adam Antebi, Ph.D., Assistant Professor
Baylor College of Medicine, Huffington Center on Aging
Scott D. Pletcher, Ph.D., Assistant Professor
Baylor College of Medicine, Huffington Center on Aging