New Ways of Increasing Life Span Identified by Groundbreaking Research of 2010 Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists Winner

Over the past several years, Dr. Evgeny Nudler – a 2010 Winner of the Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists – has been working on cutting-edge research concerning antioxidants and lifespan at NYU Langone Health. While he may not yet have found the Fountain of Youth, thanks to his research conducted on roundworms, he found clues on how simple dietary changes can delay the aging process and help increase life span.

Dr. Nudler’s research challenges the prevalent theory of aging, which postulates that aging results from the accumulation of damage caused by reactive oxygen species generated during normal metabolism and can be avoided with certain antioxidants. While antioxidants have become common food supplements and additives, Dr. Nudler’s research found that they can have negative impact on the human body, such as accelerating the aging process instead of delaying it.

Figure. Low level of antioxidants prolongs life of C. elegans. A mitochondrial stress response marker is upregulated by the low level of antioxidants (left panel). Restriction of dietary antioxidants extends C. elegans lifespan (right panel).

The journey to discovering these research findings wasn’t easy. Biochemistry labs often have trouble obtaining funding to kickstart risky, innovative projects. However, Dr. Nudler was afforded much more creative freedom in his lab’s research on aging, neurodegeneration, and antibiotic resistance when he received an unrestricted grant from the Blavatnik Family Foundation in 2010.

Dr. Nudler credits much of his lab’s success to this funding: “Our high risk – high reward approach is only possible with the infusion of non-conservative grant funding. The Blavatnik Family Foundation grant arrived at a critical time in my lab, really driving several key projects and discoveries forward.”

“Len Blavatnik is a big idea man placing big bets on science to solve the most fundamental biomedical problems,” Dr. Nudler added. “He understands how investment in basic science research leads to discoveries, cures, and treatments only dreamed of in past generations.”

The Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists program was established to support promising scientists early in their careers and to promote breakthroughs in science and technology that will define the future. Through his research, Dr. Nudler is transforming how the world, and humanity, will look in 50 years.