Chi-Kuo Hu, an assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology at Stony Brook University, has received a Glenn Foundation for Medical Research and American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR) Grant for Junior Faculty. The Grants for Junior Faculty provide early career investigators with up to $100,000 to support research focused on biological aging processes.
Hu received the grant for his research, “Understanding Diapause and Its Ability to Suspend Aging in Vertebrates.” Diapause — considered by many as a “non-aging” state — is a form of dormancy that can suspend development and, more importantly, preserve life for an extended period of time without tradeoffs to the subsequent lifespan.
Using the African killifish Nothobranchius furzerias as a research organism, Hu’s lab found that Polycomb complexes play critical roles in diapause. They hypothesize that Polycomb complexes, through different specialized subunits, regulate tissue homeostasis to maintain a non-aging state during diapause. This research project will give insight into the molecular mechanisms of diapause and its ability to suspend aging. It will also set up a powerful framework for a promising research direction of preserving life in vertebrates.
In October, Professor Hu won a New Innovator Award from the National Institutes of Health for his research on dormancy and effects of aging.
AFAR and the Glenn Foundation awarded a total of nearly $2,260,000 in support of biomedical research on aging through three grant programs. Awardees are selected through a competitive process by committees of distinguished scientists working in the field of aging research.
In addition to their grant programs, AFAR and the Glenn Foundation also co-host annual scientific meetings to foster the exchange of ideas and to promote new scientific collaborations in biology of aging research. The Glenn Foundation has invested close to $30 million and supported 559 investigators through its programs and other initiatives with AFAR.