ADVANCE LIFE SCIENCES AWARD WINNER 2017
David Sinclair, Ph.D. is a Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School and Founding Director of the Paul F. Glenn Center for the Biological Mechanisms of Aging at Harvard. He is also a Conjoint Professor at the University of New South Wales, Honorary Professor, University of Sydney, and Co-Chief Editor of the journal Aging.
During his undergraduate studies and his PhD at one of Australia’s leading universities (UNSW), he received the highest grades and won a national prize for his work in the fields of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics (CSL and The Commonwealth Prizes, respectively). He was the first non-US citizen to be awarded a prestigious Helen Hay Whitney Fellowship, allowing him to leave Australia in 2005 to work with Lenny Guarente at M.I.T. where he discovered a cause of aging in yeast, a first any organism. The work led the team to discover genes called the “Sirtuins” that enhance performance and the fitness of organisms and slow their pace of aging. At the age of 29, he was recruited to Harvard Medical School and shortly thereafter became Founding Director of the Paul F. Glenn Laboratories for Aging Research, a group that now includes four labs at Harvard and a consortium of 11 universities across the country. He is now a fully tenured professor in the world’s leading genetics department.
Dr. Sinclair’s research is focused primarily on understanding genes that fight disease and aging, with a focus on treating the major causes of death and disability. These include diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease. He studies cellular energy production, learning and memory, neurodegeneration as well. He has won awards for his work understanding why we age, for showing that the Sirtuins can be activated by agents such as resveratrol (from red wine) and for understanding how diet and exercise can be mimicked by a drug. More recently his work has branched out to understand why stem cells stay young, how to engineer the human genome, bioinformatics, how to reverse aging, and how to enhance human fitness. He regularly lectures at Harvard, serves on NIH grant review panels, and has directly mentored more than 70 postgraduates over the past 20 years, with 30 researchers currently under his direct supervision.
He is a board member of the American Federation for Aging Research, a Founding Editor of the journals Aging and Cell Stress, and has received more than 25 awards including the CSL Prize, The Australian Commonwealth Prize, a Helen Hay Whitney Postdoctoral Award, a Leukemia Society Fellowship, a Ludwig Scholarship, a Harvard-Armenise Fellowship, an American Assoc. for Aging Research Fellowship, The Nathan Shock Award from NIH, Scholarships from The Ellison Medical Foundation, The Merck Prize, the Genzyme Outstanding Achievement in Biomedical Science Award, a “Bio-Innovator award”, the David Murdock-Dole Lectureship, the Fisher Honorary Lectureship at UCLA, a MERIT Award from the National Institute on Aging, the Denham Harman Award for Gerontological Research, the “ASMR Medal” from the Australian Society for Medical Research, a Knowledge Nation 100 Recipient, an ambassador for business events (Sydney), the Kersten lecturer (USC). He is considered a leading entrepreneur of his generation having founded and co-directed nine biotechnology companies since 2005 that have attracted more than US$2B in investment and are working to improve the human condition by treating diabetes, malaria, cancer, obesity, infertility, rare childhood diseases and aging. In 2014 he was listed by TIME magazine as “one of the 100 most influential people in the world”.
Learn more about David, including what he believes is the secret to success, the first thing he does when returning home, and why his work is important here.