Simcox receives American Federation for Aging Research Grant for Junior Faculty

Photo of Judith Simcox
Assistant professor Judi Simcox.

The American Federation of Aging Research (AFAR) and the Glenn Foundation for Medical Research have announced recipients of the 2022 Glenn Foundation for Medical Research and AFAR Research Grants for Junior Faculty. The Research Grant for Junior Faculty provides an early career investigator with up to $125,000 for one to two years to support research focused on aging processes and age-related diseases.

Awardees include biochemistry assistant professor Judi Simcox, whose research addresses questions about the metabolic signals that regulate brown fat, which produces heat and regulates body temperature, and how those signals change as humans age.

With the Research Grant for Junior Faculty, Simcox will focus on how levels of ceramides, a type of lipid, changes as humans age. Her team will also study how ceramides regulate energy expenditure and activate brown fat. Results not only will reveal how ceramides are regulated in the body but also may also highlight new biological mechanisms that can be targeted for therapeutic options for healthy aging.

“As humans age, most gain body weight as they lose energy consuming tissue causing a lower basal metabolic rate. Our research will allow us to understand the signals that cause the lower energy expenditure and allow us to combat weight gain that causes age-related diseases,” Simcox says. “AFAR creates a research community focused on aging by bringing all early career faculty together for a conference, and I’m grateful to be amongst peers that are leading creative research projects to tackle age-related disease.”

Since its founding over forty years ago, AFAR has granted close to $189 million to more than 4,300 talented researchers, physicians and medical students to conduct research and to help them begin and further careers in aging research and geriatric medicine. The AFAR and Glenn Foundation grant provides Simcox approximately $125,000 over one year.

“The Research Grant for Junior Faculty provides flexible support at a critical juncture in an early investigator’s career when research funding is most difficult to obtain,” notes Stephanie Lederman, Executive Director of AFAR, in a press release. “Supporting promising researchers early is essential for long-term impact.”

Mark Collins, President of the Glenn Foundation for Medical Research, notes, “The Research Grants for Junior Faculty provide a solid foundation for junior investigators to help evolve our understanding the basic biology of aging, which will help extend our years of health as we grow older and advance better therapies for age-related diseases.”