Columbia Ob/Gyn researcher Dr. Yousin Suh awarded major national grants on aging

January 18, 2021

Yousin Suh, PhD, the Charles and Marie Robertson professor of reproductive sciences in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, was recently awarded several major grants to support her research in aging and reproductive health.

Dr. Suh was awarded two grants from the Simons Foundation in September as part of the Simons Collaboration on Plasticity and the Aging Brain. Dr. Suh’s two projects, “Conserved Regulatory Pathways in Age-related loss of Plasticity and Cognitive Function” and “Sex-Specific Differences in Cognitive and Brain Aging” are at the heart of this unique collaborative effort. The two grants total $1.1 million.

“My research focuses on identifying genes that affect rates of cognitive decline during aging in humans, and better understanding the underlying mechanisms using cutting-edge experimental protocols in human cell models,” Dr. Suh said. “I’m particularly interested in sex differences in brain aging and want to unravel new targets with novel treatments that could benefit women.”

Dr. Suh’s research aims to close a gap in aging research by specifically targeting brain aging.

“I think people assume that the same mechanisms regulate aging all over the body, but entirely different mechanisms may be at play in the brain,” said Coleen Murphy, SCPAB’s director and a scientist at Princeton University. “The assumption is that if you slow aging, you will also slow brain aging, but we don’t know if that’s true. Attacking the problem from different angles and in different organisms will get at the heart of the aging brain in a way that has not been done before.”

Additionally, in August, Dr. Suh was named a recipient of a Pilot Award by the Buck Institute’s Global Consortium for Reproductive Longevity and Equality for her project “Genetic Control of Ovarian Aging in Humans.” The Pilot Award is designed to foster innovative collaborative or novel research projects that have the potential for high impact and high reward at an accelerated rate.

A postdoctoral researcher in Dr. Suh’s lab, Seungsoo Kim, PhD, also received a Postdoctoral Scholar Award from the consortium for her project, “Integrative bioinformatic analysis of human ovarian aging and healthspan.” Together, both grants total $400,000.

Drs. Suh and Kim’s research seeks to understand the fundamental mechanisms of female reproductive aging to improve women’s health in the aging population.

“We are thrilled to welcome these promising researchers as our very first grant recipients.” says Jennifer Garrison, PhD, GCRLE Faculty Director and Assistant Professor at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging. “The GCRLE unites two disciplines – reproductive science and geroscience – in an unprecedented way to investigate an area of biology that has tangible societal and clinical implications. Our goal is to foster truly bold, innovative scientists with the potential to transform the field.”