Dr. Carolyn Glass Receives New NIH Funding

Duke University Medical Center has received major funding ($13.5 million) from the National Institutes of Health and National Institute of Aging to establish one of the first Human Tissue Mapping Centers to better characterize cellular senescence in normal multi-organ tissues. The NIH has launched a program to study a rare type of cells, called senescent cells, that play both positive and negative roles in human biological processes (https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/nih-launches-program-map-r...). A cell dividing into two cells is a hallmark of human development but over time, our bodies accumulate senescent cells that no longer divide yet contribute to chronic diseases of aging such as cardiovascular and neurodegeneration.

As part of this effort, Dr. Carolyn Glass has received a five-year grant of over $3 million, to serve as Principal Investigator and Lead of the Pathology Core, which will incorporate normal tissue obtained from the Duke Autopsy Service (serving as the Center Core), five additional Autopsy institutions, Duke Adult Cardiac and Pediatric Cardiac Surgery, Thoracic Surgery, Duke Interventional Pulmonology and Duke Gastrointestinal Clinic.

Duke’s newly established center will focus on identifying and defining cellular senescence across the life span (infant, pediatric, young adult and elderly) which will have significant impact by providing a map of normal cellular processes that become aberrant during the human lifespan. Biological analysis using epigenetic and spatial single cell transcriptomic approaches will be implemented.

To establish the Duke Senescent Cell Human Tissue Mapping Center, Dr. Glass will collaborate with Co-Core Lead Dr. Matthew Hartwig (Associate Professor, Department of Surgery, Division of Thoracic Surgery, Director of Lung Transplant Research) and the Carolina Organ Donor Services, Biological Analysis Core Lead Dr. Andrew Nixon (Professor, Department of Medicine, Duke Cancer Institute, Director of the Phase I Biomarker Laboratory), Biostatistics Core Lead Dr. Cliburn Chan (Associate Professor, Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics, Division of Integrative Genomics) and Overall Principal Investigator Dr. Patty Lee.

Duke University will join the NIH Cellular Senescence Network along with the following awarded institutions: Buck Institute for Research on Aging, Columbia University Health Sciences, University of Connecticut School of Medicine, University of Minnesota, University of Pittsburgh, Washington University and Yale University.