About Irving S. Wright + AFAR

“AFAR uniquely focuses on scientists studying the fundamental mechanisms of aging.”

The Science of Healthier Aging

AFAR was founded in 1981 to fund and nurture talented scientists and physicians, and to encourage them to pursue lifelong careers in research focused on aging processes and age-related diseases. Today, three decades later, AFAR has provided more than $150 million in support of researchers in aging and to encourage the training of new scientists and physicians in geriatric research and in the practice of geriatric medicine. The important work AFAR supports, leads to a better understanding of the aging process and to improvements in the health of all Americans as they age.


Dr. Irving S. Wright was a pioneer in aging research at the age of 78, founded the American Federation for Aging Research. In 1981, Dr. Wright had the foresight to realize that there would be a substantial age boom in the years ahead, yet scant resources devoted to research on clinical care to support such a boom.

Dr. Wright convened a group of 35 leading geriatricians, gerontologists and lay people to map out the needs for an aging society. Key to addressing this need would be greater commitment to the field of aging research, providing financial support to encourage more scientists to enter the field and more geriatricians to care for an aging population.

From a modest start, AFAR programs have grown dramatically, attracting new foundation, corporation and NIA funding, with diversified grant programs, awarding researchers with some $150 million in grants.

Dr. Wright earned both his BA and MD from Cornell University, and later served as attending physician at New York Hospital and professor of clinical medicine at Cornell University Medical College, before becoming an Emeritus Professor in 1967. A renowned clinician, researcher and educator, Dr. Wright's groundbreaking contributions extended beyond the field of geriatric medicine; he was also an international figure in cardiovascular disease and former president of the American Heart Association.

He pioneered the use of anticoagulants such as heparin and coumatin, which enables many modern cardiovascular therapies, including bypass surgery and angioplasty. The Wright Center for Aging Research and Clinical Care at Cornell University/Weill Medical College is dedicated to continuing his remarkable and far-reaching work.