$4.5 million grant awarded to UAB to continue aging research

The UAB Nathan Shock Center received a $4.5 million grant renewal from the National Institute on Aging to further engage in cutting-edge research focused on comparative bioenergetics and aging.
Written by: Julie Keith
Media Contact: Alicia Rohan

Environmental head shot of Dr. Steven Austad, PhD (Distinguished Professor/Chair, Biology) in Volker Lab, 2019.Steven N. Austad, Ph.D., distinguished professor and department chair in the UAB College of Arts and SciencesWorldwide, aging remains the most significant risk factor for disease. The University of Alabama at Birmingham has a robust aging research and therapeutic enterprise, and now with a new $4.5 million renewal grant for its Nathan Shock Center of Excellence in the Basic Biology of Aging, the institution is poised to expand its influential work in the field.

This prestigious grant, awarded from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Aging, will ensure that the UAB Nathan Shock Center is able to continue its research on how energetics affects the aging process.

Like the first award in 2015, this renewal grant is the result of a collaborative, campuswide effort. The UAB Nathan Shock Center is led by co-directors Steven N. Austad, Ph.D., distinguished professor and department chair in the UAB College of Arts and Sciences Department of Biology, and Thomas W. Buford, Ph.D., director of the UAB Center for Exercise Medicine and associate professor in the School of Medicine Department of Medicine.

“I am delighted to have Dr. Thomas Buford from the School of Medicine join me this round as we share leadership of the center. Even more than our initial award, this grant solidifies UAB’s position as a national leader in basic aging research,” Austad said. “With our cores in organismal energetics, data analytics (now housed at Indiana University), mitochondrial metabolism, and research development, we are able to leverage the vast resources and research expertise across UAB to foster scientific collaboration and multiply the success of our affiliated scientists.”

UAB’s Nathan Shock Center was established in 2015 with a five-year $2.5 million grant. At the time, UAB was one of six Nathan Shock Center sites around the nation. Today, there are eight locations: Jackson Laboratory in Maine; University of Texas Health Sciences Center in San Antonio; University of Washington; Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York; University of Oklahoma Health Science Center; a shared center between the University of Southern California and the Bay Area’s Buck Institute for Research on Aging; and the San Diego Shock Center, shared by the Salk Institute, the Sanford-Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute and the University of California San Diego.

The NIA’s Nathan Shock Center grants are intended to further the pursuit of basic research into the biology of aging through services provided by specialized research cores, small startup grants, and the organization of meetings and symposia to highlight specific areas of research.