Global Consortium for Reproductive Longevity & Equality Announces First Grant Recipients 22 Researchers Selected to Receive $7.4 million in Grant Funding to Advance the Field of Reproductive Aging 

The Global Consortium for Reproductive Longevity and Equality (GCRLE) at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, made possible by the Bia-Echo Foundation, announces its inaugural recipients of its GCRLE Scholar Awards. The 22 recipients comprise a global group who share a vision of advancing research to better understand the underlying causes of female reproductive aging. Grantees were selected by a Scientific Advisory Council composed of leaders in the fields of Aging and Reproductive Biology. Grantees range from early career scientists to established scholars in the field.

“I am incredibly excited by the potential impact for the GCRLE. The ability to convene a diverse community from across institutions will positively and constructively impact this field and move science forward in a way that simply would not be possible otherwise,” says GCRLE Pilot Award recipient Iain Cheeseman, PhD, of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research at MIT. GCRLE Junior Scholar Award recipient Lynae Brayboy, MD of Charité-Universitätsmedizin, Berlin adds, “I think reproductive scientists can often exist in isolation and don’t have the unique experience GCRLE is fostering…I think it also very challenging for physician scientists to find support in the field of reproductive aging and reproductive biology in general.” 

The mission of the GCRLE is to support breakthrough research on reproductive aging through funding, training, infrastructure, programs to support women in science, and a collaborative intellectual network. The GCRLE network will enable grantees and all consortium members to pursue support and collaboration across multidisciplinary approaches and institutions, thereby establishing a foundation on which to grow a diverse and sustainable research ecosystem.

Grants totaling $7.4 million will be awarded over 2 years, with flexibility in budgeting for maximum creativity and non-traditional support such as childcare. “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. Beyond funding, we are building an infrastructure to grow a vibrant community and developing creative programs to break down gender barriers in scientific research careers. This is the beginning of something big!”

The GCRLE is anchored at the Buck’s Center for Female Reproductive Longevity and Equality which was established in 2018 with a gift from attorney and entrepreneur Nicole Shanahan. The Center is the first research facility in the world focused solely on reproductive equality and ovarian aging, a key determinant not only of fertility but of overall health and longevity. The GCRLE was established in 2019 with a gift from Shanahan’s Bia-Echo Foundation to build the global ecosystem for this new and exciting field of research.

2020 Inaugural GCRLE Scholars

The Senior Scholar Award supports established investigators who are thought leaders in their fields and are recognized for substantial contributions of creative and productive research.

2020 Senior Scholar Award Recipients:

Holly Ingraham, Ph.D.
University of California, San Francisco
“Identifying Novel Drivers in Central Control of Female Reproduction”

Coleen Murphy, Ph.D.
Princeton University
“Defining a “Clock” for Female Reproductive Decline”

Mary Zelinski, Ph.D.
Oregon Health & Science University
“Interventions for Ovarian Aging”

The Junior Scholar Award supports newly independent investigators with outstanding promise as they are establishing their own labs.

2020 Junior Scholar Award Recipients:

Bérénice Benayoun, Ph.D.
University of Southern California
“Establishing new age-relevant mouse models of menopause”

Lynae Brayboy, M.D.
Charité – Universitätsmedizin, Berlin
“Dysfunctional MDR-1 disrupts mitochondrial homeostasis in the oocyte”

Ingrid Fetter-Pruneda, Ph.D.
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
“The molecular and cellular basis of high fecundity in social insects”

Amanda Kallen, M.D.
Yale University
“Ovarian Senescence as a Novel Driver of Female Reproductive Aging”

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. 

Pilot Award Recipients:

Ivana Celic, Ph.D.
Tulane University
“LINE1 Retrotransposons in Female Reproductive Aging”

Iain Cheeseman, Ph.D.
Whitehead Institute/MIT
“Analyzing centromere rejuvenation during female reproductive aging”

Marco Conti, M.D.
University of California, San Francisco
“mRNA translation program and oocyte aging”

Arjumand Ghazi, Ph.D.
University of Pittsburgh
“Genetic & Chemical Modulation of Splicing to Combat Reproductive Senescence”

Polina Lishko, Ph.D.
University of California, Berkeley
“Endocannabinoid signaling in the mammalian ovary and reproductive longevity”

Zita Santos, Ph.D., Carlos Ribeiro, Ph.D.
Champalimaud Foundation, Portugal
“Metabolic reprogramming, dietary nutrients and food cravings in ovary aging”

Yousin Suh, Ph.D.
Columbia University
“Genetic Control of Ovarian Aging in Humans”

The Postdoctoral Scholar Award supports training imaginative junior scientists who will lead the next generation of reproductive aging researchers. 

2020 Postdoctoral Scholar Award Recipients:

Cristina Quesada Candela, Ph.D.
University of Pittsburg​
“Proteasomal Targets Driving Meiotic Failure During Reproductive Aging”

Ana Milunovic Jevtic, Ph.D., D.V.M.
University of California, Berkeley
“The role of endocannabinoid hydrolase ABHD2 in the ovarian aging”

Gul Bikem Soygur Kaya, Ph.D.
University of California, San Francisco
“How duration of meiotic prophase affects development and aging of oocytes”

Min Hoo Kim, Ph.D.
University of Southern California
“Elucidating causal effects of the microbiome on reproductive aging”

Seungsoo Kim, Ph.D.
Columbia University Medical Center
“Integrative bioinformatic analysis of human ovarian aging and healthspan”

Olfat Malak, Ph.D.
Buck Institute for Research on Aging
“Role of sympathetic transmission in the regulation of ovarian aging”

Farners Amargant i Riera, Ph.D.
Northwestern University
“Targeting fibrosis and inflammation to extend reproductive longevity”

Zijing Zhang, Ph.D.
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
“The impact of ovarian macrophage population on mouse ovarian aging”

About the Global Consortium for Reproductive Longevity and Equality

The Buck Institute, through the generous support of the Bia Echo Foundation, has launched a novel, global collaborative Consortium dedicated to facilitating and accelerating research on female reproductive longevity and equality. The end of fertility sets off a cascade of negative health effects in a woman’s body. As a society, every aspect of a woman’s life is influenced by the fact that reproductive capacity is limited — overall health, family planning, career decisions. The downstream consequences are clear, but why women undergo a precipitous decline in fertility at midlife and what sets it in motion are a mystery. Despite its profound impact on health and well-being, female reproductive aging is an understudied topic.

The Global Consortium for Reproductive Longevity and Equality (GCRLE) is advancing research to better understand the underlying causes of female reproductive aging. This has implications for everyone – we think that understanding the limits on reproductive capacity will provide important clues about aging in other tissues.  Through funding, collaboration, and innovation, we hope to accelerate the pace of discovery and inform the path to intervention. We believe we can profoundly alter the societal balance toward equality for women by defining what leads to menopause and developing interventions to slow or reverse it. Our goal is to build the field to understand the basic biological mechanisms that trigger female reproductive senescence, from the earliest stages through to menopause, and ultimately leverage this understanding to intervene and balance the scales.  Contact info@gcrle.org for more information and to find out how to join the GCRLE today!

About the Buck Institute for Research on Aging

Our success will ultimately change healthcare. At the Buck, we aim to end the threat of age-related diseases for this and future generations by bringing together the most capable and passionate scientists from a broad range of disciplines to identify and impede the ways in which we age. An independent, nonprofit institution, our goal is to increase human health span, or the healthy years of life. Globally recognized as the pioneer and leader in efforts to target aging, the number one risk factor serious diseases including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cancer, macular degeneration, heart disease, and diabetes, the Buck wants to help people live better longer.  Learn more at: https://buckinstitute.org

About the Bia-Echo Foundation

Bia-Echo Foundation is a private foundation, founded by Nicole Shanahan that aims to accelerate social change in order to establish a fair and equitable society for future generations to thrive. We invest in changemakers at the forefront of innovation who are tackling some of the world’s greatest challenges within our core areas of equality-based investment:  Reproductive Longevity & Equality, Criminal Justice Reform and Healthy and Livable Ecosystems. https://www.biaecho.org