Cynthia Kenyon, biochemist and geneticist, is revolutionizing our understanding of aging. She is creating new ways to help us live longer and happier lives by developing methods to slow aging and prevent age-related diseases. As an expert in biochemistry and biophysics at the University of California at San Francisco, she is particularly interested in the influence that genetics have on age-related diseases.

Her greatest breakthrough was finding that there’s a universal hormonal control for aging: carbohydrate intake. This can have a dramatic effect on how two critical genes behave, reducing insulin production and boosting repair and renovation activities. Kenyon’s theory has proved true for worms, mice, rats, and monkeys.

By studying aging, Kenyon believes that she and other scientists will be able to pinpoint the molecules responsible for the onset of age-related diseases in people and prevent them. She has also co-founded a drug-development company called Elixir Pharmaceuticals to do just that.

“The link between aging and age-related disease suggests an entirely new way to combat many diseases all at once; namely, by going after their greatest risk factor: aging itself.” — Cynthia Kenyon

The 15 Most Amazing Women in Science Today: Cynthia Kenyon

TED Profile: Cynthia Kenyon

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