The Buck Institute for Research on Aging in Novato, California, has announced a $6 million gift from Nicole Shanahan, a lawyer turned legal technologist and founder and CEO of ClearAccessIP, to establish a Center for Female Reproductive Longevity and Equality.
A woman's fertility starts to decline in her early thirties and at forty she has only a 5 percent chance of becoming pregnant in any month. According to Buck Institute president and CEO Eric Verdin, small investigational studies suggest that there are several potential molecular mechanisms that contribute to ovarian aging, including impaired DNA repair, metabolic and energetic disorders, and mitochondrial dysfunction.
"While aging research is seeing unprecedented acceleration, the area of women's reproductive longevity remains underappreciated or even ignored," said Verdin. "Beyond reproduction, the end of fertility sets off a cascade of negative effects in women's bodies. We want to intervene in that process. The goal of this new center is to develop strategies to prevent or delay ovarian aging....The Buck has active research programs that address the areas already implicated in ovarian aging. We believe we can make rapid progress and that this new center can quickly become a global resource and thought leader in this field."
Buck professor Judith Campisi — who studies DNA repair as an aspect of cellular senescence, a cellular mechanism that causes aging-associated inflammation and tissue degradation — will lead the effort to recruit faculty and researchers for the center.
"Reproductive equality is an issue near and dear to my heart," said Shanahan. "On a societal level, reproductive equality impacts women's health, family planning, infertility, and career development. I am excited to support groundbreaking work that has so many touch points for rebalancing our culture and economy."
(Image credit: Buck Institute for Research on Aging)