Advisory Board Member

Professor Leonard P. Guarente

PhD (Harvard), Novartis Professor, MIT

Dr. Guarente is the Novartis Professor of Biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and co-founder of Elysium. Dr. Guarente’s lab identified SIR2 as the key gene regulating lifespan in yeast and C. elegans – an extra copy of SIR2 significantly increases the lifespan of both organisms. Notably, his lab first discovered the novel biochemical activity of the SIR2 gene product – NAD-dependent deacetylase. This activity suggested that Sir2 might be involved in linking diet to the regulation of ageing, addressing the longstanding question of how calorie restriction (CR) might slow ageing.

Dr. Guarente’s lab also studies the mammalian orthologue of SIR2 – SIRT1. Dr. Guarente’s findings show that extension of healthy lifespan by CR is not a passive event, but results from the activation of SIRT1, which then impacts on cellular and organismal processes to deliver the benefits. Dr. Guarente received his B.S. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his Ph.D. at Harvard, under the supervision of Jon Beckwith. He trained as a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard with Mark Ptashne and has been on the faculty of MIT since 1981. His book Ageless Quest (Cold Spring Harbor Press, 2003) describes the pathway of discovery of SIR2 as a key regulator of lifespan in response to diet.