Gordon Lithgow, PhD
Principal Investigator and Director of the Buck Institute’s Interdisciplinary Research Consortium on Geroscience, USA
Dr. Lithgow is the Principal Investigator and Director of the Buck Institute’s Interdisciplinary Research Consortium on Geroscience. He is also the Principal Investigator of the Larry L. Hillblom Network on the Chemical Biology of Aging and is the Coordinator of the Hillblom Center for the Biology of Aging Support Award. His research focuses on the mechanisms of aging by identifying agents that extend lifespan or prevent age-related disease. He has discovered a range of factors that can lengthen life in the microscopic worm Caenorhabditis elegans, and he applies these findings to studies in human cell cultures. His lab has discovered that certain cell proteins capable of extending life can also be closely involved in disease prevention. They, for example, have studied genetic variations in “checkpoint proteins’’ that may create a trade-off between the rate of aging and incidence of cancer.
Dr. Lithgow and his lab have made seminal discoveries in the use of pharmacological agents to intervene in aging processes, such as antioxidants that protect cells against damage from unstable chemicals called free radicals. More recently, his lab has uncovered compounds that act as “stress response mimetics” that maintain protein balance and stability. These compounds suppress pathology associated with Alzheimer’s disease. The lab continues to undertake screens for chemical compounds that slow aging and extend healthspan.
Dr. Lithgow has been recognized for his research with a Glenn Award for Research in Biological Mechanisms of Aging, a senior scholarship from the Ellison Medical Foundation, and the Tenovus Award for Biomedical Research. He has served on many national advisory panels in both the United Kingdom and the United States, including the National Institute on Aging’s Board of Scientific Councilors, and has served as the chair of biological sciences at the Gerontology Society of America.
Dr. Lithgow received his PhD in Genetics from the University of Glasgow, Scotland. He completed postdoctoral training at the Institute for Behavioral Genetics at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Lithgow was a Senior Lecturer in Molecular Gerontology at the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Manchester in England before coming to the Buck Institute in 2001.