Recently, the School of Gerontology awarded two faculty members, research associate professor Donna Benton and research assistant professor Kelvin Yen, with the 2017 Hanson-Thorell Family Research Scholarships, research grants that will fund them with $25,000 each to conduct one-year pilot projects.
Benton will conduct research on ways to meet the needs of unpaid caregivers. Specifically, she plans to create an intervention program for older people who serve as family caregivers in Los Angeles County. The program will provide data regarding existing services and help find solutions to assist this underserved group, who have been shown to have more health issues than non-caregivers.
Yen will use the funding to conduct research on the mitochondrial-derived peptide humanin, which plays a role in several age-related diseases, including cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Yen belongs to a team at the Cohen Lab that has genetically modified a roundworm to overproduce humanin. This led to a 10 percent increase in the roundworm's lifespan. Yen’s research will explore the mechanism by which humanin can increase lifespan.