UConn’s Ming Xu Wins an Inaugural Hevolution/AFAR New Investigator Award in Aging Biology and Geroscience

Xu is one of 18 researchers globally to each receive a three-year grant of $375,000

Ming Xu Ph.D. in the Xu Laboratory at the UConn Center on Aging at UConn Health. (Tina Encarnacion/UConn Health photo)

The American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR) and Hevolution Foundation have awarded Ming Xu, Ph.D. of the UConn Center on Aging and the Department of Genetics & Genome Sciences at UConn School of Medicine an inaugural Hevolution/AFAR New Investigator Awards in Aging Biology and Geroscience Research. This marks his fourth AFAR grant award.

Xu’s research at UConn will be further investigating the synergistic benefits of metformin and senolytics on lifespan and healthspan. Currently, several interventions such as metformin and senolytics have been shown to increase lifespan in aged mice, as well as improve tissue function at certain ages. Xu will now test in the laboratory whether the combination of metformin and senolytic treatment can result in longer lifespan and compress morbidity further than metformin alone or senolytics alone. This project will likely lay the foundation for clinical trials to improve lifespan and healthspan in older adults.

“Aging represents the leading shared risk factor for a variety of age-related diseases,” says Xu of UConn Health.  “Most older adults develop multiple chronic conditions at some point in their lives, resulting in poor health, declining function and morbidity. Efforts to compress morbidity period and increase healthspan represent a major priority for aging research.”

Geroscience is a research paradigm based on addressing the biology of aging and age-related disease to promote healthy aging. These inaugural awards like Xu’s are supporting talented early career investigators at research institutions around the world. Recipients of the New Investigator Awards were selected through a rigorous, peer-review process. Applications were reviewed by established aging researchers who volunteer their time and expertise to select scientists and research projects that have the greatest likelihood of making significant contributions to help us stay healthier longer as we grow older.

“Some of the biggest breakthroughs in aging research today were funded first through AFAR’s grants for promising early career researchers. The Hevolution/AFAR New Investigator Awards in Aging Biology and Geroscience Research will significantly boost support for junior faculty worldwide,” notes Stephanie Lederman, EdM, Executive Director, AFAR. “The promising therapeutics on the horizon that will extend health and vitality as we grow older are rooted in the research into the basic biology of aging and age-related disease supported by this grant.”

“In partnership with AFAR, Hevolution Foundation is excited to strengthen the international pipeline of aging researchers through the New Investigators Awards,” shares Felipe Sierra, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer, Hevolution Foundation. “We want to help fill the void and speed the pace of scientific discovery on the processes of aging by dramatically increasing the research workforce. This initial round of grants is a significant step toward that goal.”

Learn more about Hevolution/AFAR New Investigator Awards in Aging Biology and Geroscience.