Research and Funding

Division of Aging Biology

Nathan Shock Centers of Excellence

The Division of Aging Biology (DAB) of the NIA funds Nathan Shock Centers of Excellence in the Basic Biology of Aging across the U.S. There are currently 5 funded Centers, in Maine (The Jackson Laboratory), Michigan (University of Michigan), Texas (University of Texas Health Sciences Center in San Antonio), Washington (University of Washington) and New York (Albert Einstein College of Medicine).

What do the Nathan Shock Centers do?

The Centers provide leadership in the pursuit of basic research into the biology of aging. They do so through a Research Development Core which administers small start-up funds locally, and organizes national annual meetings to highlight specific areas of research.

In addition, each Nathan Shock Center has several specialized cores that provide services to Shock Center members, as well as for-fee services to the community at large. The cores are different in each Center, depending on the strengths of each Institution. Information about each Nathan Shock Center and their cores can be found by clicking on the links below.

The Jackson Laboratory Nathan Shock Center of Excellence in the Basic Biology of Aging

The Jackson Laboratory
Gary A. Churchill, Ph.D., Director
600 Main St.
Bar Harbor, ME 04609

Contact Services Provided
Cheryl Ackert-Bicknell Facilitates the care of mouse models for research on biological aging
Elissa Chesler Performs an unprecedented, comprehensive survey of lifespan and healthspan in the mouse
Ron Korstanje Evaluates, integrates and disseminates data relating to the genetics of aging from mouse, human and other organisms
Gary Churchill Enables the tracking, statistical analysis and dissemination of aging data
Gary Churchill Provides support for investigators who wish to change career direction towards aging research
Gary Churchill Provides the management of the overall Center, as well as support for the External and Internal Advisory Boards


University of Michigan Nathan Shock Center

University of Michigan
Richard A. Miller, M.D., Ph.D., Director
Biomedical Science Research Bldg
109 Zina Pitcher Place, Room 3001
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2200

Services Provided
  • Coordinates activities and communication via Newsletters, email, etc.
  • Internal and external advisory committees
  • Pilot grant review and awards
  • Research retreats
  • Subsidies for per diem costs to generate aging mice
  • Subsidies for creation of new transgenic/KO models
  • Veterinary pathology support
  • Comprehensive evaluation of metabolic and physiological traits
  • Generation of new stocks of mutant/transgenic flies
  • Training and technical assistance for gerontologist new to fly research
  • Subsidies for studies of cell biology of aging that exploit UM Biological Cores
  • Creation of system for archiving fibroblasts from multiple species of rodents, bats, primates, and birds.
  • Development of collaborative projects using comparative methods to test hypotheses about inter-species differences in aging rate.


University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio Nathan Shock Center

University of Texas Health Science Center
Randy Strong, Ph.D., Director
The Barshop Institute
UTHSCSA - Texas Research Park Campus
15355 Lambda Drive
San Antonio, Texas 78245-3207

Services Provided
  • Seminars, meetings and conferences
  • Weekly Aging Research Seminars, Journal Club and an annual Conference on Aging
  • The 2010 Pilot Grant Announcement and Application Instructions
  • A listing of previous Pilot Grant awards and recipients
  • Breed and maintain rodent colonies
  • Lifespan studies in rodents
  • Provide animal models for baseline pilot studies
  • Provide diets containing rapamycin and other drugs
  • Educate staff in animal husbandry and experimental design
  • Assessments of endocrine / metabolic function and body composition / structure
  • Measurement of cardiac parameters in mice
  • Tests of locomotor behavior and cognitive health
  • End of life and cross-sectional pathology in rodents and other species maintained by the Aging Animal and Longevity Assessment Core
  • Quantitative morphometric analyses by 3D and 2D imaging
  • Develop a database and tissue archive of histopathology
  • Develop validated bioanalytical assays for drugs used in aging studies
  • Measure drug levels in powders and solutions, lab chow, whole blood, serum, plasma, and tissues such as liver, brain, kidney, intestine, skin, etc. from aging mice
  • Screen drugs for potential anti-aging properties using a C. elegans platform
  • Use C. elegans models to determine the cellular pathways affected by drugs, and to test their role in the effects of drugs on longevity


University of Washington Nathan Shock Center

University of Washington
Peter S. Rabinovitch, M.D., Ph.D., Director
1959 NE Pacific St., K-081 HSB
Seattle, WA 98195-7705

Services Provided
  • Generation of conventional and allele replacement transgenic mouse models for studies of the biology of aging
  • Assistance with study design and aging rodent colonies for studies of aging
  • A comprehensive panel of physiologic and functional tests for the assessment of mouse "healthspan"
  • An array of cellular assays for assessment of aging phenotypes, including flow cytometry and cell sorting, image cytometry and telomere analyses
  • Proteomics, including measurements of proteome abundance and turnover
  • Transcriptomics, including transcriptional arrays and Translational State Array Analysis (TSAA)
  • Informatics
  • Support for pilot projects and junior faculty development in the biology of aging
  • Support for seminars, courses, symposia and workshops
    • Next workshop: "Proteomics and Aging", Friday and Saturday, June 17-18, 2011, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
  • Statistical consulting for experimental design and analysis
  • Aging genes/Interventions Database and Shared Resources Database
  • Community outreach and collaboration with other Nathan Shock Centers Administrative support


Albert Einstein College of Medicine Institute for Aging Research/Nathan Shock Center

Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Nir Barzilai, M.D., Director
Jack and Pearl Resnick Campus
1300 Morris Park Avenue
Belfer Building, Room 701
Bronx, NY 10461

Services Provided
  • The Proteostasis of Aging Core provides state-of-the-art methodology for the study of changes in cellular protein homeostasis in aging and age-related disorders
  • The CEAC offers intellectual expertise specific to the design, implementation and interpretation of studies targeting the understanding of energetics and metabolic consequences and mechanisms specific to aging
  • The GEAC provide investigators with whole-genome association data from human centenarians and controls to assess their gene of interest in relationship to human aging and diseases. It provides sequence enrichment for next-generation re-sequencing of candidate gene regions, and genome-wide DNA methylation analysis using advanced high throughput technology
  • RDC provides funding for Pilot and Feasibility studies, enhances and supports E-NSC science at Einstein, identifies new faculty who have potential for "conversion" to aging research and provides continuous mentoring through grant applications, assists junior faculty and investigators new to aging research, and provides formal education in the biology of aging


Oklahoma Nathan Shock Center

University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center
Arlan Richardson, Ph.D., Directior
ROCA/Geriatric Medicine
975 NE 10th Street/SLY-BRC 1303
Oklahoma City, OK 73104

Services Provided
  • Provide both intellectual and organizational leadership in developing a research emphasis in Geroscience in Oklahoma City as well as the State of Oklahoma
  • Develop a Oklahoma Geroscience Consortium to bring together all faculty in Oklahoma who are interested in aging and age-related diseases
  • Provides investigators at institutions throughout the United States conducting geroscience related research with pilot funding. These funds can be used to access the resources of the Oklahoma Nathan Shock Center at no cost. These NIA sponsored funds are typically reserved for junior faculty members at the early stages of their career although more senior investigators that are new to the aging field also may be eligible for funding
  • Uses LC-tandem MS with selected reaction monitoring (SRM) to measure protein abundance in tissue samples from rodents as well as invertebrates and other animals used in geroscience research
  • Panels of proteins (20 to 30) in the following pathways are available for rats and mice: antioxidant proteins, β-oxidation, glycolysis, TCA-cycle, and various mitochondrial proteins
  • Assays for proteins involved in other pathways can be designed and validated for rodents and humans
  • Panels of proteins for invertebrates (yeast, C. elegans, Drosophila) and exceptionally long-lived species (e.g., naked mole rats, bats, birds, etc.) can be developed
  • A genome-wide, base-specific analysis of 5mC levels in all gene promoters and all of the non-repeat region CpG islands, shores, and shelves of the human, mouse, or rat genome using Bisulfite Oligonucleotide Capture Sequencing assay gives investigators
  • DNA methylation in the promoter regions (a few hundred bases to a few kilobases) of a specific gene from any species
  • Whole mitochondrial genome sequencing for human, mouse, and rat (as well as other animal models, including invertebrates) to identify heteroplasmic variants
  • Absolute quantification of mitochondria DNA copy number in human, mouse, and rat samples
  • Assays of redox status, e.g., GSH/GSSG, NADPH/NADP+, NADH/NAD+, and CoASH/Acetyl-CoA
  • Assays of energy charge, e.g., levels of ATP, ADP, and AMP
  • Assays of oxidative damage, e.g., F2-isoprostanes, 8-oxo-deoxy guanosine, and protein carbonyls
  • Provides support in statistics and bioinformatics for data analysis, including prioritization of Y2H PPI studies
  • Processing and analysis of ChIP-seq, RNA-seq and microarray experimental data
  • Text-mining analysis to identify published commonalities, how two things are connected, or infer novel connections
  • Transcriptional network analysis to predict gene or ncRNA function, even when no literature exists on the transcript