(Johnson, Thomas E - 2010) -- BFA Award for Excellence in Research, Scholarly and Creative Work
Award or Honor Receipt
Described as “the father of modern aging biology genetics,” Professor Johnson is internationally recognized for his groundbreaking work demonstrating that genetic factors play a major role in regulating the lifespan of the roundworm, C. elegans. His research established an entirely new way of looking at the aging process, and it has guided scientists toward the development of more effective strategies for increasing the quality and duration of life. Professor Johnson’s early work established a polygenetic basis for the modulation of life span, but his subsequent finding that a mutation in a single gene, called age-1, resulted in dramatic changes in life span provoked enormous changes not only in the way that gerontologists think about the regulation of lifespan but also in the methods used to study lifespan and aging. Professor Johnson’s more recent research has produced another paradigm shift as he and his colleagues have demonstrated that caloric restriction increases lifespan in some types of mice and decreases it in others. This result is important because it suggests that caloric restriction should not be used in humans until scientists have identified the genes that modulate the effects of caloric restriction and come to understand how these genes work.