ANN ARBOR, Mich. — A $3 million grant from The Glenn Foundation for Medical Research will allow the University of Michigan to establish a national center of excellence in biogerontology research.
The Glenn Center for Aging Research at U-M will focus on exploiting and expanding the growing evidence that drugs can slow the effects of aging and postpone diseases in animal models. Researchers aim to unlock mechanisms of aging that can help develop medications that may help people live longer, healthier lives.
The award recognizes U-M as among a select group of elite members of The Glenn Consortium for Research in Aging in the country.
"To be named as a member of the Glenn Consortium for Research in Aging is a highly-prestigious designation by the Foundation,” says U-M Medical School Senior Associate Dean for Research Steven L. Kunkel, M.D.
“The award is a testament to the quality of the U-M’s biogerontology research program and the excellence of our faculty."
The Paul F. Glenn Center for Aging Research at the University of Michigan has been established as a component of the U-M Geriatrics Center and Institute of Gerontology. It is directed by Richard A. Miller, M.D., Ph.D., professor of Pathology and the Geriatrics Center’s associate director for research.
"It is a tremendous honor to have been invited to join the Glenn Center consortium," Miller says. "We are confident that this newly inaugurated research program will let us show how work involving cells, worms, flies, and mice will lead to major advances in our understanding of aging and disease, and we expect that the program will help Michigan attract students and fellows who want to make biogerontology the focus of their own research careers."
The Glenn Foundation for Medical Research sponsors outstanding laboratories and scientists conducting research to understand the biology that governs normal human aging and its related physiological decline, with the objective of developing interventions that will extend the human health span. The grant recognizes the quality and productivity of the U-M Geriatrics Center’s biogerontology program by the Foundation, which does not solicit proposals but funds highly-promising research in gerontology.
The Glenn Center at U-M will have two components: The Model Systems Unit will analyze pharmaceutical agents using worms, flies and cultured cell lines, and will be directed by Scott Pletcher, Ph.D., professor of Molecular and Integrative Physiology and research professor of the Institute of Gerontology. Dr. Miller will direct the Slow-Aging Mouse facility, which will use these animals to discover the pathways by which the drugs slow the effects of aging and postpone disease.
The Executive Committee for the Glenn Center at U-M includes Drs. Miller and Pletcher, as well as Jeffrey B. Halter, M.D., the director of the U-M Geriatrics Center, and Raymond Yung, M.B., Ch.B., chief of the Division of Geriatric and Palliative Medicine and director of the Institute of Gerontology.
The U-M Geriatrics Center is one of the premier programs in the nation for research into aging and age-related diseases. U-M was the first and is currently one of only 13 National Institute on Aging Claude D. Pepper Older American Independence Centers. U-M is also a NIA-designated Nathan Shock Center of Excellence in Basic Biology of Aging, one of only five in the nation. U-M also benefits from NIA support of its Aging Training Grant for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, and its participation as one of three national test sites for the Mouse Interventions Testing Program, which evaluates drugs for the ability to slow the effects of aging in mice.