The La Jolla-based J. Craig Venter Institute announced today it has received a four-year, $1.25 million grant for research to identify and study biomarkers associated with healthy aging.
The funding came from the Ruggles Family Foundation, the charity of Rudy L. Ruggles Jr., a 74-year-old physicist and adjunct professor at the institute, which will collaborate on the study with the Western Connecticut Health Network of Danbury.
The study will focus on two groups of elderly individuals ages 65 to 85 by correlating genetics with a variety of profiles, and integrating the data with a participant's health record. One group will consist of healthy individuals, and the other will include people with a variety of diagnosed health conditions.
The team will then compare the microbiome -- the full complement of microbes that live on and in the human body -- and molecular profiles of the healthy aging group with those of the non-healthy aging group to identify biomarker candidates. The investigators hope that the data can be used to develop cost-effective, clinically relevant tests.
"The time is right for pursuing the complex question of healthy aging given the rapid advances in analytical technologies and the expanding knowledge of the human genome and microbiome and their interactions," said Ruggles, who will be a participant in the research.
"JCVI's capabilities in this realm are unparalleled, and I am confident that this ground breaking study will expand materially the horizons of this area of fundamental understanding," he said.
The United Nations reported that the worldwide population aged 60 and over nearly tripled to 606 million between 1950 and 2000. By 2050, the number is expected to triple again, increasing the importance of research into aging, according to the institute.
—City News Service