Advisory Board

Dr. Nir Barzilai

Nir Barzilai, M.D. is Chaired Professor in the Department of Endocrinology Medicine and the Department of Genetics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He is also the Ingeborg and Ira Leon Rennert Chair of Aging Research at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He is the Founding Director of the Institute for Aging Research and the Nathan Shock Center of Excellence in the Basic Biology of Aging, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This center is coordinating 80 investigators and six program projects on the biology of aging. He is also the Director of the Paul F. Glenn Center for the Biology of Human Aging Research at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University.

He is a member of the Diabetes Research Center and the divisions of endocrinology and geriatrics. He is the director of the Diabetes Research and Training Center’s Animal Physiology core.

Nir also directs the Longevity Genes Project (LGP), a genetics study of over 600 families of centenarians and their children. It is a cross-sectional, ongoing collection of blood and phenotypes from families with many centenarians. The participants are all Ashkenazi Jews, a group selected for their genetic homogeneity, which makes it easier to identify significant genetic variations and discover underlying genomic differences associated with longevity.

LonGenity is a longitudinal study of 1,400 subjects, half offspring of parents with exceptional longevity, validating and following their aging in relationship to their genome. The second direction is focused on the metabolic decline of aging, and hypothesizes that the brain leads this decline. His lab has identified several central pathways that specifically alter body fat distribution and insulin action and secretion by intraventricular or hypothalamic administration of several peptides modulated by aging, including leptin, IGF-1, IGFBP3, and resveratrol.

Nir discovered the first “longevity gene” in humans. His research established that the gene variant that leads to high HDL, or “good cholesterol,” is linked to healthy aging and extreme longevity. He found that many of the centenarians had very high levels of HDL.

He discovered several, later independently validated, “longevity genes” in humans. These include variants in genes involved in cholesterol metabolism (CETP and APOC3), metabolism (ADIPOQ and TSHR), and growth (IGF1R). These genes appear to protect centenarians against major age-related diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and dementia.

Read At the Bridge Table, Clues to a Lucid Old Age.

Treatments for age-related diseases like type 2 diabetes are being developed based on his work and are currently in clinical trials with Anacetrapib (CETP inhibitor). The diabetes research is led by CohBar, a biotech company that he helped cofound. CohBar is a biotechnology company developing mitochondria-based therapeutics to treat diseases associated with aging.

In addition to his “longevity gene” research, Nir studies key mechanisms involved in the biology of aging, including how nutrients and genetics influence lifespan. He has also proposed metformin as a tool to target aging and has run the Metformin in Longevity Study (completed May 2018). His team further characterized the phenotype and genotype of humans with exceptional longevity through NIH awards. He has an NIH Merit award investigating the metabolic decline that accompanies aging and its impact on longevity. He is also investigating the physical and mental declines associated with aging and how they affect longevity.

Nir has published more than 270 peer-reviewed papers, reviews, and chapters in textbooks. He serves on several editorial boards and advisory boards of pharmaceutical and startup companies, and is a reviewer for numerous journals.

He is a Beeson Fellow for Aging Research and has received many other prestigious awards, including the Senior Ellison Foundation Award, the 2010 Irving S. Wright Award of Distinction in Aging Research, the NIA–Nathan Shock Award, and a merit award from the NIA for his contributions in elucidating metabolic and genetic mechanisms of aging. He was the 2018 recipient of the IPSEN Longevity award. He is leading the TAME (Targeting/Taming Aging with Metformin) trial, a multi-center study to prove the concept that multi morbidities of aging can be delayed in humans and change the FDA indications to allow for next generation interventions.

Read Metformin and the TAME Trial: Magic Pill or Monumental Tool?

He is a Medical Advisor for Life Biosciences, the Scientific Director of the American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR), and a founding member of the Academy for Lifespan and Healthspan. He has been featured in major papers (Science), conferences (SENS 2019 Undoing Aging), TV programs (PBS’s “NOVA scienceNow” and National Geographic), and documentaries (TEDx and TEDMED). He has been consulting and/or presenting the promise for targeting aging at The Singapore Prime Minister Office, several International Banks, The Vatican, Pepsico, the Milken Institute, The Economist, and Wired Magazine.

In June of 2020, he published his book, Age Later: Health Span, Life Span, and the New Science of Longevity, where Nir reveals the secrets his team has unlocked about SuperAgers and the scientific discoveries that show we can mimic some of their natural resistance to the aging process and finally reveals that Aging Can Be Seen as a Preventable Disease.

Nir was born in Israel and he earned his M.D. from Technion – Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, Israel. He was chief medic in the army from 1977 to 1985. He first came to the U.S. in 1987 as a resident at Yale University. He joined Albert Einstein College in 1993 as an instructor of Endocrinology Medicine.

Watch TAME & Biomarker Q&A with Nir Barzilai, Metformin, Rapamycin & TAME Project, Aging Later Through This Pandemic and the Next, Age later: Lessons for this pandemic and the next, and “Age later” advise from those who do. Watch How to Die Young at a Very Old Age, Ageing is a treatable disease, and The Biology of Aging Can be Targeted!

Listen to How to tame aging and Rapamycin and metformin—longevity, immune enhancement, and COVID-19.

Read What We Can Learn About Longevity From SuperAgers and Centenarians and It’s Not the Yogurt: Looking for Longevity Genes.

Watch TAME & Biomarker Q&A with Nir Barzilai, Metformin, Rapamycin & TAME Project, Aging Later Through This Pandemic and the Next, Age later: Lessons for this pandemic and the next, and “Age later” advise from those who do.

Visit his LinkedIn profile, Work profile, Healthspan Policy profile, and Wikipedia page. Follow him on Facebook and ResearchGate.