Ronald Kohanski, PhD. is the Acting Director of the Division of Aging Biology at the National Institute on Aging, NIH. Trained as a biochemist, he obtained a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Chicago in 1981. After a postdoctoral fellowship with M. Daniel Lane at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, he held a faculty position at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine for 17 years before returning as a faculty member at Johns Hopkins. His fields of research included enzymology and developmental biology of the insulin receptor. Dr. Kohanski joined the Division of Aging Biology, NIA in 2005 as a Program Officer, and became Division Deputy Director in 2007. Dr. Kohanski has promoted aging research in the specific areas of stem cell biology and cardiovascular biology. More broadly he promotes research efforts to expand studies beyond laboratory animals, to address the basic biology of aging explicitly in human populations and non-laboratory animals (domestic and wild populations).
Dr. Kohanski is also a co-founder and co-leader of the trans-NIH Geroscience Interest Group (GSIG). The group spans the entire NIH, and is built on the fact that aging is the major risk factor for most chronic age-related diseases. In keeping with this program Dr. Kohanski has encouraged researchers to consider age as an essential parameter of research using animal models of chronic diseases. More broadly, he promotes research into the basic biology of aging that could explain why aging is itself the major risk factor for of chronic diseases.