Women & Science

How Long Could We Live?

Thursday, May 12, 2016

12:00 NOON to 2:00 PM

Caspary Auditorium
The Rockefeller University
1230 York Avenue at East 66th Street


Cynthia Kenyon, Ph.D.
Vice President, Aging Research, Calico
Professor Emeritus, Departments of Biophysics and Biochemistry
University of California, San Francisco


Marc Tessier-Lavigne, Ph.D.
President and Carson Family Professor
The Rockefeller University

Kenyon portraitResearchers worldwide are searching for the underlying causes of age-associated conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, neuro- degenerative disorders, and many forms of cancer, with the goal of developing more effective preventive measures and treatments. But are these efforts asking all the important questions? Biologist Cynthia Kenyon, Ph.D., believes that one key risk factor for these illnesses has been largely overlooked: aging itself.

Dr. Kenyon's research has shown that aging is not an arbitrary outcome of time and physical deterioration; rather, it is biological process subject to genetic control. She began finding evidence of this the early 1990s, when she discovered genetic mutations that dramatically extend the lifespan of C. elegans, the tiny, soil-dwelling worm that is her favorite research model. Worms with certain gene mutations lived five times longer than average and, amazingly, they also displayed the energy, flexibility, and smooth appearance of normal young worms.

Dr. Kenyon has found longevity genes within a C. elegans hormonal circuit that corresponds to the human insulin system. A key regulator of this pathway, FOXO, has a counterpart gene in humans that is often mutated in an intriguing population: centenarians. In studies of worms and mice, Dr. Kenyon and her colleagues have also identified a neural protective pathway that may help to explain the causes of age-related dementia. She sees great promise in efforts to forestall many diseases simultaneously by designing therapies that act upon the genes and proteins that influence aging.

A member of the U.S. National Academies of Sciences and Medicine, Cynthia Kenyon received a Ph.D. from MIT and was a postdoctoral fellow with Nobel laureate Sydney Brenner in Cambridge, England. In 1986 she joined the faculty of the University of California, San Francisco, where she became the Herb Boyer Distinguished Professor and an American Cancer Society Professor. In 2014 Dr. Kenyon was named Vice President, Aging Research, at Calico, a new venture launched by the founders of Google. Calico is searching for innovative technological approaches to extend human life and health.

Please join us for what promises to be a fascinating Women & Science Lecture and Luncheon featuring Dr. Cynthia Kenyon. The event will be hosted by Rockefeller University President and Carson Family Professor, Marc Tessier Lavigne, Ph.D.

For more information, please contact Amanda Martinez at (212) 327-7728 or amartinez@rockefeller.edu.

2016 Women & Science Committee

Founding Chairs
Lydia A. Forbes Isabel P. Furlaud Nancy M. Kissinger Sydney R. Shuman

Judith Roth Berkowitz Debra Black Rebecca A. John Samantha Boardman Rosen, M.D.
Patricia P. Rosenwald Barbara Manfrey Vogelstein Lulu C. Wang

Frances Beatty Adler Holly S. Andersen, M.D. Barbara Anderson Terry Anne Baker
Anne T. Bass Mercedes T. Bass Ludmila S. Bidwell Nancy L. Blank Noreen Buckfire
Judith M. Carson Anna Chapman, M.D. Daniella Lipper Coules Caroline R. Curry
Annette de la Renta Carol B. Einiger Blair Pillsbury Enders Jeanne Donovan Fisher
Olivia Tournay Flatto, Ph.D. Deban Flexner Barrett B. Frelinghuysen  Ruth E. Gitlin
Corinne P. Greenberg Gretchen S. Grisanti Agnes Gund Jean D. Hamilton Marlene Hess
Elizabeth R. Hilpman Kristin Hohmann Sandra Horbach Dr. Jane Frank Katcher
Bicky Kellner Patricia D. Klingenstein Teena L. Lerner, Ph.D. Karen M. Levy
Evelyn G. Lipper, M.D. Hillie Mahoney Constance Marks Pam Michaelcheck Gigi Mortimer
Robin Chemers Neustein Eliot C. Nolen Virginia Pellicci, M.D. Béatrice Philippe
Marnie S. Pillsbury Courtney Smith Rae Gail Hunt Reeke Kimberly K. Rockefeller
Renee Rockefeller Amy Falls Rogers Janet C. Ross Sara Lee Schupf Jennifer Scully-Lerner
Casey Whalen Sellers Marilyn Simons Carla H. Skodinski Gillian Steel Joan S. Steinberg
Mary S. Sykes Marcy Syms Marica Vilcek Sue Ann Weinberg Cynthia M. Whitehead
Mrs. Carolyn Wiener Silvia Zoullas

Honorary Chairman

David Rockefeller

Founding Chairmen

Lydia A. Forbes
Isabel P. Furlaud
Nancy M. Kissinger
Sydney R. Shuman

2017 W&S Chairmen

Judith Roth Berkowitz
Debra Black
Rebecca A. John
Denise Kellen
Samantha Boardman Rosen, M.D.
Patricia P. Rosenwald
Lulu C. Wang

2017 W&S Committee

full committee listing

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