(Adapted from AARP news release)
AARP The Magazine
has announced the recipients of its 2008 Inspire Awards. The Inspire Awards (formerly called the Impact Awards) pay tribute to 10 extraordinary people whose contributions inspire others to action through their innovative thinking, passion and perseverance.
UCSF molecular biologist Cynthia Kenyon, PhD, was selected to receive one of the 2008 Inspire Awards for her work as a "Pioneering Longevity Researcher." Kenyon, the American Cancer Society Professor and director of the Hillblom Center for the Biology of Aging at UCSF, was responsible for the startling discovery in 1993 a change in just one gene, called daf-2, doubled the lifespan of the much-studied roundworm C. elegans
. This finding led to the understanding that lifespan is regulated by genes and is therefore changeable, rather than the inevitable result of the body's breakdown. The discovery in worms has been confirmed in other animals including mice.
In October, new research by Kenyon, reported in the journal Nature Genetics
, identifies naturally occurring processes that allow many genes to both slow aging and protect against cancer in C. elegans
. Many of the worm genes have counterparts in humans, suggesting that new drugs may some day ensure a long, cancer-free life. The new research and a related study the scientists reported in Science
last year indicate that cellular changes leading to longevity antagonize tumor cell growth.
In addition to Kenyon, this year's Inspire Award honorees include Caroline Kennedy (Community Service Advocate), Gary Sinise (Fundraiser for Operation Iraqi Children), Gladys Knight (Champion for Diabetes Research), Barbara Morgan (Courageous Educator), Liviu Librescu (Virginia Tech Hero), Helen Thomas (Trailblazing Journalist), Ed Boyer (Founder of Air Transportation Aid), Roslyn Hill (Leader of Neighborhood Revitalization), and Pete Garcia (Affordable Housing Advocate).
"The Inspire Awards showcase people who are using their passion for action to make the world a better place," said Steven Slon, editor of AARP The Magazine
. "These leaders who innovatively support and spark change within their communities are an inspiration to us all."
Honorees will receive their Inspire Awards during a private luncheon hosted by Barbara Walters at the New York Public Library on Dec. 3, 2007. Their profiles appear in the January/February 2008 issue of AARP The Magazine
Kenyon: Longevity Researcher
AARP The Magazine
, January/February 2008
Both Extend Life and Protect Against Cancer Identified
UCSF Today, Oct. 15, 2007
Radiolab Interviews UCSF Researchers About "Life's Limit"
and "Fountains of
, July 20, 2007
Cynthia Kenyon and Anti-Aging Genes
, May 29, 2007
and Cynthia Kenyon Explore the Science of Living Longer
, April 2, 2007
Research into "Longevity Genes" Help Us Live Longer and Healthier
, Jan. 12, 2007
Is Aging a Disease? A Conversation with Cynthia Kenyon
UCSF Science Café, Jan. 10, 2007
Live Long and Prosper: A Conversation About Aging with Cynthia Kenyon
UCSF Science Café, Jan. 4, 2007
Roundworms Lead Us to the Fountain of Youth?
, July 7, 2006
Find What Type of Genes Affect Longevity
UCSF News Release, June 29, 2003
Cynthia Kenyon: Probing
the Prospects of Perpetual Youth
, May 2003
"Gene Switch" Increases Lifespan with No Ill Effects
UCSF News Release, Oct. 24, 2002