Brian Kennedy, PhD, Chairman of the Board
Dr. Brian Kennedy is internationally recognized for his research in the basic biology of aging and is a visionary committed to translating research discoveries into new ways of delaying, detecting, preventing and treating age-related conditions. He leads a team of 20 principal investigators at the Buck Institute – all of whom are involved in interdisciplinary research aimed at extending healthspan, the healthy years of life.
Dr. Kennedy became the Buck Institute’s second CEO in July, 2010, coming from the University of Washington in Seattle where he served in the Department of Biochemistry. He earned his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is well known for work during his graduate studies with Leonard Guarente PhD, which led to the discovery that Sirtuins (SIR2) modulate aging.
Dr. Kennedy’s current work involves nutrient signaling pathways linked to dietary restriction, particularly the TOR pathway, which generated excitement in the age research field when it was shown recently that the drug rapamycin can extend mouse lifespan. One of the goals of his research is to determine whether pathways like TOR can be regulated to treat the diseases of aging. Specifically, Dr. Kennedy’s lab focuses on cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndromes like type II diabetes. Dr. Kennedy also studies the genetic mutations underlying diseases such as dilated cardiomyopathy, muscular dystrophy and Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome, which resembles premature aging.
Dr. Kennedy is the inventor on several patents and co-founder of two U.S. companies aimed at developing treatments for age-related chronic disease. He is actively involved in aging research in the Pacific Rim, which features the largest elderly population in the world. He is a visiting professor at the Aging Research Institute at Guangdong Medical College in China. In the past year he lectured in Korea, Russia, China, Chile, Germany, Norway, Singapore and the United Kingdom. In conjunction with the University of Southern California, he also launched the nation’s first PhD Program in the Biology of Aging.
Dr. Kennedy has published more than 150 manuscripts in prestigious journals including Science and Nature and has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and The Boston Globe, among more than 20 other publications. He serves as a public advocate for interventional strategies to promote health aging, including in a recent nationally broadcasted radio debate available online at the Intelligence Squared Foundation website. He is also co-Editor-in-Chief of Aging Cell, Board Chairman of Mt. Tam Biotechnologies, and serves as a consultant for other biotech, pharmaceutical, and health-related companies.