The grant will be used to test the hypothesis that age-related conditions such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, cancer, and osteoporosis are a fundamental part of the aging process and are caused by accelerated aging in different tissues of the body. The research will bring together the disciplines of neuroscience, mitochondrial proteomics, functional bioenergetics, and the biology of aging with the goal of influencing the way the biomedical community views research on age-related disease.
Buck scientists will undertake two experimental programs focused on mitochondria and naturally occurring modifications of related enzymes. Researchers will conduct a functional analysis to determine whether deficiencies or defects in one of the enzymes are involved in neuronal cell dysfunction and death and the progression of Parkinson's disease. The second program will survey animal models and human brain tissues to explore whether similar modifications have impacted tissues affected by Alzheimer's disease.
"The W.M. Keck Foundation is pleased to make this award to the Buck Institute in recognition of its outstanding work in the field of biomedical research," said Roxanne Ford, program director at the foundation. "This study is vital to our understanding of the fundamental biological processes of aging."