Inside AFAR
Inside AFAR

Insights, Views, and Interviews

Mar 29
2:45 pm

Grantee Spotlight Interview: Benjamin D. Cosgrove, PhD View MoreBACK

AFAR’s grant programs in the biology of aging are central to our mission to support and advance healthy aging through biomedical research. At leading institutions nationwide, our grantees’ hard work, ingenuity, and leadership are advancing cutting-edge research that will help us all live healthier, longer lives.

Explore more in this Grantee Spotlight Interview:

Benjamin D. Cosgrove, PhD
Cornell University
2018 Glenn Foundation for Medical Research and AFAR Grants for Junior Faculty

What inspired you to pursue aging research?
I was inspired to pursue aging research in part through the example set by my maternal grandparents. Though in their late 90s, they are still ambitiously active and fit. I became so motivated to better understand how they could be skiing and playing tennis in their advanced age, while most of their friends are unable to keep up with any physical activity. I am enthralled with the question of how our muscle tissues lose function in aging and how can prevent or reverse that decline.

In your view, what does AFAR mean to the field, and what does it mean, for you, to receive an AFAR grant now?
AFAR is a visionary organization that drives the field of aging research forward and catalyzes the career development of aging scientists. Receiving a Junior Faculty Award from AFAR and the Glenn Foundation is not just a tremendous honor, but also an inspiring challenge to accelerate our work towards translational relevance.

What’s exciting about your research’s potential impact?
We are excited to see the impact of our work in elderly patients suffering from muscle wasting or repair dysfunction. We hope that insights into the decline in stem-cell function in aged muscles will help us derive new therapeutic avenues.

In three sentences, how would you describe your research to one of your grandparents?
As we age, our skeletal muscle tissues lose their capacity to turnover and repair themselves. My research seeks to reveal why the stem cells within skeletal muscles lose their regenerative potential  in aging. My approach is to map the activity of the genome in each cell within elderly muscle tissues, with the goal of figuring out the molecular patterns that distinguish healthy from declining stem cells.