Eric Verdin, MD, Professor

President and CEO

Epigenetic regulators of the aging process

Dr. Verdin’s laboratory studies protein acetylation and was first to identify and characterize several protein deacetylases (HDACs and sirtuins) and the key role of protein acetylation in mitochondrial function and aging. His laboratory now focuses on how metabolism, diet and small molecules regulate the activity of HDACs and Sirtuins and thereby the aging process and its associated diseases, including Alzheimer’s. 

Current Research Projects

Role of reversible protein acetylation in aging. This work is focused on the role of key metabolites (NAD+ and acetylcoenzyme A) as sensors for the metabolic status of cells. These metabolites regulate the activity of epigenetic enzymes such as sirtuins and p300/CBP and thereby the activity of key gene programs involved in aging. The laboratory also focuses on the identification of inhibitors of p300 and activators of sirtuins as drugs that regulate the aging process and age-associated diseases.

Effect of β-hydroxybutyrate and ketogenic diet on aging and age-associated diseases (Alzheimer’s). The Verdin lab recently reported that β-hydroxybutyrate inhibits the activity of HDACs and thereby gene expression of key genes that regulate aging, including Foxo3a.  The laboratory is currently exploring the effects of a ketogenic diet in normal mice and a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease. They have also synthesized new β-hydroxybutyrate precursors and are testing them in models of aging. 

Role of NAD+ metabolism in innate immune function. NAD+ is a critical enzyme cofactor for key metabolic enzymes and for the sirtuins. NAD levels fluctuate under different nutritional conditions and importantly, they decrease during aging. The Verdin lab studies how fluctuations in NAD+ metabolism regulate sirtuin activity with a focus on innate immune cells  (macrophages).

Study of accelerated aging in humans. TThe Verdin lab is currently studying models of accelerated human aging with a focus on patients infected with HIV and treated with antiretroviral therapy. They recently reported that the TOR pathway is a key regulator of HIV replication and latency.

A native of Belgium, Dr. Verdin received his Doctorate of Medicine (MD) from the University of Liege and additional clinical and research training at Harvard Medical School. He has held faculty positions at the University of Brussels, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Picower Institute for Medical Research and the Gladstone Institute. Dr. Verdin is also a Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.

He has published more than 210 scientific papers and holds more than 15 patents. He is a highly cited scientist and has been recognized for his research with a Glenn Award for Research in Biological Mechanisms of Aging and a senior scholarship from the Ellison Medical Foundation. He is an elected member of several scientific organizations including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians. He also serves on the Advisory Council of NIDA at the National Institutes of Health.

Media Expertise
Dr. Verdin welcomes media inquiries on the following subjects:
Aging and longevity, extending healthspan, metabolism and aging, dietary restriction, and HIV and aging.

Executive Associate: Juniper Pennypacker
jpennypacker@buckinstitute.org
Phone: 415-209-2249

Laboratory Manager: Che-Ping
CNg@buckinstitute.org
Phone: 415-209-2882

Executive Team Administrator: Lauren House
lhouse@buckinstitute.org
Phone: 415-209-2229

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