Team Leader Name:
Shin-Ichiro Imai, M.D., Ph.D.
Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis
Team Leader Bio:
Dr. Imai has been studying molecular mechanisms of mammalian aging and longevity at cellular and organismal levels for 27 years and making significant contributions to the field of aging research. In 1987-1997, he studied cellular aging-associated transcriptional regulation in human fibroblasts and proposed the “Heterochromatin Island Hypothesis of Aging” (Imai and Kitano, 1998). To further expand his research, he joined the laboratory of Leonard Guarente at MIT as a Human Frontier Science Program Long-Term Fellow in 1997. In 1999, Lenny and he made a critical discovery of the NAD+-dependent protein deacetylase activity of yeast and mammalian SIR2 proteins (sirtuins) and published this landmark paper in Nature in 2000. This discovery opened a new field of aging research, and the field of sirtuin biology has been rapidly evolving in the past 10 years. In 2001, Dr. Imai joined the faculty of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. Since then, his laboratory has been devoted to studying the roles of the mammalian SIR2 ortholog SIRT1 and systemic NAD+ biosynthesis mediated by NAMPT, a key NAD+ biosynthetic enzyme, in the systemic regulation of aging and longevity in mammals.