NIA’s Sierra Named ‘Influencer’ in Aging
Next Avenue has named the National Institute on Aging’s Dr. Felipe Sierra as one of its top 50 Influencers in Aging in 2015. He is one of 10 people recognized in the area of health and well-being. Next Avenue is public media’s national web-based service for America’s 50+ population.
“This recognition reflects Felipe Sierra’s commitment to improving our understanding of aging so that we may ultimately identify ways to have healthier, longer lives,” said NIA director Dr. Richard Hodes. “It is well deserved.”
Sierra has directed NIA’s Division of Aging Biology since 2006. He oversees a diverse research portfolio that investigates the biological underpinnings of aging and possible methods to manipulate the aging process. The division, for instance, supported the research that identified the dominant cellular and molecular pathways currently believed to be the major pillars of aging, including inflammation, cell senescence, proteostasis, stem cells, stress resistance and others.
The division is also responsible for the Interventions Testing Program (ITP), a multi-institutional study designed to investigate compounds with the potential to extend lifespan and delay age-related disease and dysfunction. The ITP has identified a number of compounds that extend lifespan and healthspan in genetically heterogeneous mice, including compounds in pre-clinical stages of research, such as rapamycin and acarbose.
Along with his work at NIA, Sierra has led NIH’s venture in geroscience, a relatively new field that breaks down disciplinary silos in research to look at how common mechanisms in aging underlie the development of chronic diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Sierra co-founded the trans-NIH geroscience interest group in 2011 and continues to coordinate it. He received an NIH Director’s Award in 2013 and 2014 in recognition of this effort.
Influencers in Aging are selected by Next Avenue editors and contributors, as well as an advisory panel of experts in health, housing, work, media, philanthropy and gerontology.
“It is an honor to be identified as an Influencer in Aging,” said Sierra. “My hope is that this distinction might introduce new people to the importance of aging biology and geroscience research and highlight how advances in these areas could help seniors lead healthier lives, free of debilitating chronic diseases.”—Megan Homer