The American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR), a national non-profit organization whose mission is to support and advance healthy aging through biomedical research, has recognized the exemplary contributions of Ming Xu, Ph.D., assistant professor of the UConn Center on Aging and the Department of Genetics & Genome Sciences at UConn School of Medicine, to the field of aging research through the 2023 Vincent Cristofalo Rising Star Award in Aging Research.
This award, established in 2008, is named in honor of the late Dr. Vincent Cristofalo, who dedicated his career to aging research and to encouraging young scientists to investigate important problems in the biology of aging. It is one of the most prestigious scientific prizes of the American Federation for Aging Research.
Xu’s research focuses on cellular senescence, one of the major players contributing to the fundamental aging process.
His lab is leveraging novel mouse models and human tissues as tools to examine the role and underlying mechanism of senescent cells in various diseases and aims to develop novel drugs to make people live longer and healthier and alleviate a range of diseases as a group by targeting senescent cells.
His pioneering research is advancing the understanding of age-related disease mechanisms and revealing novel therapeutic targets to treat these conditions. Xu’s laboratory research is investigating how to eliminate these old, dysfunctional damaged cells called senescent cells from the body.
His findings have also laid the foundation for a number of ongoing clinical trials on senolytics. In addition to many co-authored publications, Xu has published 6 first author and 5 senior and corresponding author original research papers in key high-impact journals including Nature Medicine (2 times), Nature Aging, Cell Metabolism, Aging Cell (4 times), PNAS, Elife, npj Regenerative Medicine, and The Journal of Gerontology: Biological Sciences. All these publications have been extensively recognized and cited by other investigators.
“A recipient of multiple AFAR grants, Dr. Xu has made a highly significant contribution to the field of aging research early in his career,” note Stephanie Lederman, EdM, Executive Director, AFAR. “He carries on the visionary commitment of this award’s namesake to advancing research that will help us all live healthier, longer.”
The Vincent Cristofalo Rising Star Award in Aging Research is one of AFAR’s three annual Scientific Awards of Distinction, in addition to the Irving S. Wright Award and the Terrie Fox Wetle Rising Star Award in Health Services and Aging Research. Nominations for the awards are judged by an panel of leading aging researchers. To date, AFAR has presented 44 Wright Awards,16 Cristofalo Awards, and 4 Wetle Awards.
Xu will receive the Cristofalo Award at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the Gerontological Society of America in November 2023, where he also will present a lecture on his research.