Brian K. Kennedy, PhD, Appointed as New CEO of Buck Institute for Age Research

June 28, 2010 Brian K. Kennedy, PhD, has been appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of the Buck Institute for Age Research, effective July 1, 2010.  Kennedy, who has earned an international reputation for his work in the basic biology of aging, comes to the Buck Institute from the University of Washington in Seattle where he most recently served in the Department of Biochemistry.

“We are honored to welcome Dr. Kennedy as the new head of the Buck Institute,” said Catherine Munson, Chair of the Board of Trustees. “His expertise, superb reputation, and profound commitment to furthering the field of age research will serve a critical role in ensuring the Institute’s continued success as it moves into its second decade.”

Kennedy, 43, earned his PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.He is well known for work during his graduate studies with Leonard Guarente PhD, which led to the discovery that Sirtuins (SIR2) modulate aging. His current work involves nutrient signaling pathways linked to dietary restriction, particularly the TOR pathway.  He also studies A-type nuclear lamins, which are targets for mutation in Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome.  “The work being done at the Buck Institute for Age Research raises the possibility to intervene in the aging process.  Aging is the biggest risk factor for many diseases, therefore success in slowing aging will likely make people healthier later in their lifespan.   The opportunity to lead the Buck Institute’s talented scientific staff as the Institute enters a new phase of growth and expansion is a welcome challenge,” said Kennedy.

“We were impressed with Dr. Kennedy’s vision and single-minded dedication to the field of age research,” said Buck trustee E. Lewis Reid, who led the search committee which also included Buck faculty members. Noting that Kennedy has served on the National Institutes of Health Cellular Mechanisms of Aging and Development study section since 2006, and on the grant review committee for American Federation for Aging Research Grants since 2006, Reid added, “Brian’s depth and breadth of scientific experience will be invaluable as the Buck Institute expands.”  Construction has begun on the Institute’s newest research building, a 65,000 square-foot facility that will house research focused on regenerative medicine and aging.

Kennedy has published more than 60 manuscripts in prestigious journals including Cell, Nature, Science, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. He has been an Associate Editor for the Journal of Gerontology since 2006, and also serves as a consultant for biotech and pharmaceutical companies.  “Brian Kennedy has the both the vision and the focus that will allow the Buck Institute to thrive in the years ahead,” said Stephen Hauser, MD, Chair of Neurology at UCSF and Chair of the Buck Institute’s Scientific Advisory Board. “He has shown an ability to solve key questions in the biology of aging and to anticipate where the field will be moving in the future. His scientific openness impressed all the scientists involved in the search process. I look forward to working with him to guide the important research now underway at the Institute.”

About the Buck Institute for Age Research:
The Buck Institute is the only freestanding institute in the United States that is devoted solely to basic research on aging and age-associated disease. The Institute is an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to extending healthspan, the healthy years of each individual’s life.  Buck Institute scientists work in an innovative, interdisciplinary setting to understand the mechanisms of aging and to discover new ways of detecting, preventing and treating conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, cancer and stroke.  Collaborative research at the Institute is supported by new developments in genomics, proteomics and bioinformatics technology.

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