Vishwa Deep Dixit awarded $10.5 million to lead anti-aging research effort
Professor of Comparative Medicine and of Immunobiology Vishwa Deep Dixit, and his colleagues at Yale School of Medicine and UT Southwestern, have been awarded nearly $10.5 million in funding over five years from the National Institute on Aging.
The collaborative grant supports four projects designed to examine the anti-aging effects of a protein, FGF21, on different organ systems and the development of age-related diseases. In recent studies, Dixit and his collaborators have shown that when FGF21 is engineered to be overexpressed in mice, it improves immune function, reduces type 2 diabetes, and extends the lifespan.
The four projects will delve further into the underlying mechanisms of FGF21 and its role in chronic illnesses that increase with age. For one project, Dixit will focus on FGF21 and the immune response. His work will reveal how the protein affects immune cells that lose the ability to fight viruses and cancer cells during aging.
In another project, Tamas Horvath will investigate the protein’s impact on the nervous system and the brain. Dixit and Horvath’s colleagues at UT Southwestern will study FGF21’s effects on growth hormones, metabolism, and type 2 diabetes.
The over-arching goal of the research is to gain a comprehensive, integrated view of how FGF21 affects the body and the aging process — insights which could lead to therapies addressing age-related disease and aging itself.