Leonard Guarente, Ph.D., is a founder of Elysium and the company’s chief scientist, a role in which he directs research and product development. Since 1982 he has led the Glenn Center for the Biology of Aging Research at MIT, where his research has focused on the genetic and molecular basis of aging — first in model organisms and now in mouse models and humans.
Guarente is best known for his research on the role of sirtuins, a class of proteins that play a key role in regulating metabolic systems. In particular, Guarente was the first to identify SIR2 as the gene that controls aging in yeast cells. The mammalian version of SIR2, SIRT1 (and its associated proteins), has since been shown by Guarente and others to play a key role in longevity and metabolic function in mammals. Additional research is needed to confirm similar effects in humans.
Guarente’s lab is currently focused on understanding how the human aging transcriptional program works and how it is regulated. His team is particularly interested in the role of sirtuins in human aging. They are investigating the role of sirtuin levels and also sirtuin polymorphisms in regulating human aging rates as well as looking broadly using unbiased genome-wide strategies.
Guarente is the Novartis Professor of Biology at MIT. He holds a B.S. from MIT and a Ph.D. from Harvard.