Longer Life Foundation Longevity Research Program

Director: John O Holloszy, M.D.
Associate Director: Luigi Fontana, M.D., Ph.D.

Project Overview:
The Longevity Research Program will focus on improving our understanding of the factors involved in promoting disease-free longevity and help identify potential novel biomarkers of longevity.  The precise biological and cellular mechanisms responsible for aging are unknown.  Primary aging is the inevitable decline in tissue/cell structure and biological function with age that occurs independently of disease.  Secondary aging is the deterioration in tissue/cell structure and biological function that occurs with advancing age as the result of chronic diseases such as atherosclerosis, diabetes, hypertension and harmful lifestyle factors, such as overeating, lack of exercise, smoking, etc.  Slowing primary aging results in an increase in maximal lifespan, whereas protection against secondary aging results in an increase in average lifespan.  Therefore, factors that affect primary or secondary aging alter life expectancy and represent potential targets for increasing survival. 

Calorie restriction, for example, has been shown to increase maximal lifespan in different species, including yeast, flies, worms, fish and rodents.  A key component of the Longevity Research Program is access to a unique population of people who have been practicing a reduction in calorie intake for seven years or longer. Dr. Luigi Fontana’s studies of this population have documented the powerful effect of calorie restriction in slowing the aging process in humans.  By maintaining a blood and tissue bank from these subjects, the Longevity Research Program provides access to unique study populations and stimulates innovative and collaborative research in longevity. 

The Longevity Research Program is led by John O Holloszy MD, a pioneer in studying the impact of exercise and dietary manipulation on insulin sensitivity, mitochondrial biogenesis, and aging.  His research accomplishments span more than four decades and are a classic example of patient-oriented translation research – taking a problem from bedside to bench and back to the bedside and clinical practice.