The Searle research grant provides $100,000 per year for three years to promising assistant professors early in their careers.
Dr. Chen's research aims to understand the aging process and to explore therapeutic targets to slow aging. In particular, she is focusing on sirtuins in mammalian aging. Sirtuins are genetic regulators of aging. They are believed to be mediators of calorie restriction responses, such as lifespan extension and amelioration of diverse diseases of aging, including cancer.
Dr. Chen plans to use the award to fund a project in stem cell aging.
"I believe the implications of this research are two-fold: it will help us understand how stem cells regulate the aging process and it will apply the latest development in aging research to advance our understanding of stem cell biology," she says.
Dr. Chen received her doctorate in molecular and cell biology from UC Berkeley and conducted postdoctoral research at MIT before her appointment as assistant professor in the college's Department of Nutritional Science and Toxicology.