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National Institutes of Health

NemaMetrix Announces NIH funding

A bar graph displaying the number of C. elegans aging research publications from 1985 to 2014.January 28, 2014 – NemaMetrix announces being awarded $188,000 for a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Institute of Health. The funds will be used to support fundamental proof of concept research, with an eye towards near-term commercialization, of a microfluidic screening device for health-span extending drugs.

Americans aged 85 or older constitute the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population, but the genetic and biological basis of aging and associated conditions is poorly understood. Progress in understanding the cellular and molecular basis of aging is rapidly accelerating, following the discovery that several well-known model organisms age in many of the same ways as humans.

In addition to their contributions to our basic understanding of the biology of aging, these organisms are now being used to screen for compounds that extend not only lifespan but also the quality of life in older individuals (healthspan).

One of the most powerful model systems in aging and healthspan research is the microscopic nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, favored for its short lifespan (2-3 weeks), genetic tractability, and low cost. The overall goal of this research is to accelerate the discovery of compounds that extend health span through the use of a novel screening device to enhance the throughput and resolution of health span screening in this key organism.

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