Assistant Professor of Pathology Amy Wagers of the Harvard-affiliated Joslin Diabetes Center has been named to the W.M. Keck Foundation’s 2007 class of Distinguished Young Scholars in Medical Research. The honor will provide her with up to $1 million in research funding over the next five years.
Wagers was selected for her work using stem cells to better understand and eventually treat diseases including diabetes, immune deficiencies, muscle weakness, and cancer.
“It’s wonderful to have this support, which will allow us to pursue some very exciting experiments around the role of stem cells in aging-related disease,” said Wagers, noting that this type of financial backing is particularly important in light of the decline in National Institutes of Health support for basic research.
Wagers investigates the decline with age in the body’s ability to maintain homeostatic cell replacement and to regenerate cells after injury. Building on previous research of the relationship between the age of stem cells and their ability to regenerate themselves, Wagers hopes to discover a method to slow down or reverse the natural process of aging, which may potentially lead to advances in treating illnesses that can have a relation to aging, including those mentioned above.
Robert A. Day, chairman and chief executive officer of the Los Angeles-based Keck Foundation, said that the nine-year-old Young Scholars program “is designed to give the nation’s most promising young scientists the resources they need to pursue potentially breakthrough research projects in biomedicine.”