JAX Center for Aging Research

We focus our diverse expertise in biology and genomics on the problems and disorders associated with aging, employing a systems-wide approach to understand aging processes.

The Jackson Laboratory Center for Aging Research (JCAR) serves as a bridge to bring together Jackson Laboratory (JAX) and external investigators, provide a communications forum for collaborative opportunities, and bring JAX aging research to a higher level. Created in 2019, JCAR has built upon JAX’s National Institute on Aging-funded Nathan Shock Center of Excellence in the Basic Biology of Aging (Shock Center) to expand the scope and impact of the aging research program at JAX. Recently, two other important programs have been included in the JCAR effort, making it a hub for geroscience research.

The goal of the Shock Center as its name implies, to enhance research into the basic biology of aging. In addition, it develops and provides technological and intellectual resources as well as facilitating the planning and coordination of research on aging activities.

The Interventions Testing Program (ITP) began in 2004 with sites at JAX, the University of Michigan, and the University of Texas Health Sciences Center. The program tests diets, drugs, or other interventions to see if they prevent disease and extend lifespan in mice. Phase 1 studies continue to be performed. Each year, studies for approximately six compounds are initiated. Phase 2 studies will be performed at each of the three ITP sites, but each site has a different focus to look at the effect of the compound on different aspects of aging. The JAX ITP will focus on heart, kidney, and bladder.

The SenNet Consortium is a large-scale national effort to study the biology and potential deleterious effects of senescent cells. Senescent cells stop dividing over time and in response to stress, but they are not eliminated from the body. While they have been implicated in inflammation and disease, how many there are, where they are located, and their exact roles remain poorly understood. JAX was awarded a Tissue Mapping Center in Bar Harbor and, in collaboration with UConn Health Center, one in Farmington to study senescence in kidney, heart, pancreas, and placenta in mice and kidney, adipose, pancreas, and placenta in humans at a single-cell level.