Nir Barzilai

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Nir Barzilai
Born(1955-12-27)December 27, 1955
Haifa, Israel
CitizenshipUnited States of America and Israel
Alma materTechnion-Israel Institute of Technology
Known forbiology of aging, genetics of exceptional longevity
AwardsIrving S. Wright Award of Distinction in Aging Research Award (September 2010)
Scientific career
Fieldsgenetics and biology of aging, endocrinology/diabetes
InstitutionsAlbert Einstein College of Medicine

Nir Barzilai is the founding director of the Institute for Aging Research,[1] the Nathan Shock Center of Excellence in the Basic Biology of Aging and the Paul F. Glenn Center for the Biology of Human Aging Research at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University (Einstein). He also directs the Longevity Genes Project,[2] a genetics study of over 600 families of centenarians and their children. The participants are all Ashkenazi Jews, a group selected for their genetic homogeneity, which makes it easier to identify significant genetic variations. Barzilai found that many of the centenarians had very high levels of HDL.[3] Barzilai also co-founded of CohBar, Inc., a biotechnology company developing mitochondria based therapeutics to treat diseases associated with aging.

Barzilai discovered several “longevity genes” in humans that were validated by others.[4] These include variants in genes involved in cholesterol metabolism (CETP[5] and APOC3[6] ), metabolism (ADIPOQ[7] and TSHR[8]) and growth (IGF1R[9]). These genes appear to protect centenarians against major age-related diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes and dementia.[10]

Treatments for age-related diseases are being developed based on Barzilai’s work and are currently in clinical trials with Anacetrapib. The diabetes research is led by CohBar Inc.,[11] a biotech company that Barzilai helped co-found.

In addition to his “longevity gene” research, Barzilai studies key mechanisms involved in the biology of aging, including how nutrients[12] and genetics[13] influence lifespan. He has also proposed metformin as a tool to target aging[14] and has run the Metformin in Longevity Study (completed May 2018)[15] He is also investigating how mental decline and personality affect longevity.[16]

Barzilai was born in Haifa, Israel. During his national service in the Israel Defense Forces, he served as a medical instructor. In 1976, he served as a medical officer in Operation Entebbe. He was the Israeli army's chief medic from 1977 to 1985. He studied medicine at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, obtaining his MD in 1985. He interned at Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem, and the Royal Free Hospital in London. He first came to the U.S. in 1987 as a resident at Yale University. He joined Einstein in 1993 as an instructor of medicine (endocrinology).[17][18]


  1. ^ "Institute for Aging Research". Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Archived from the original on October 29, 2010. Retrieved April 29, 2014.
  2. ^ Dreifus, Claudia (February 24, 2004). "A CONVERSATION WITH/Nir Barzilai; It's Not the Yogurt: Looking for Longevity Genes". New York Times. New York, NY. Retrieved April 29, 2014.
  3. ^ deGrasse Tyson, Neil (host); Cohen, Chad (correspondent) (Jan 2007). "Aging". NOVA scienceNOW. PBS.
  4. ^ Green, Jesse (November 6, 2011). "What Do a Bunch of Old Jews Know About Living Forever?". New York (magazine). NY, NY. Retrieved April 30, 2013.
  5. ^ Barzilai, N; Atzmon, G; Schechter, C; Schaefer, EJ; Cupples, AL; Lipton, R; Cheng, S; Shuldiner, AR (October 15, 2003). "Unique lipoprotein phenotype and genotype associated with exceptional longevity". JAMA. 290 (15): 2030–2040. doi:10.1001/jama.290.15.2030. PMID 14559957.
  6. ^ Atzmon, G; Rincon, M; Schechter, C; Shuldiner, An; Lipton, R; Bergman, A; Barzilai, N (April 4, 2006). "Lipoprotein Genotype and Conserved Pathway for Exceptional Longevity in Humans". PLOS Biol. 4 (4): e113. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0040113. PMC 1413567. PMID 16602826. open access
  7. ^ Atzmon, G; Polin, TI; Crandall, J; Tanner, K; Schechter, CB; Scherer, PE; Rincon, M; Siegel, G; Katz, M; Lipton, RB; Shuldiner, AR; Barzilai, N (2008). "Adiponectin levels and genotype: A potential regulator of life-span in humans". Journal of Gerontology: Biological Sciences. 63 (5): 447–453. doi:10.1093/gerona/63.5.447. PMC 4507412. PMID 18511746.
  8. ^ Atzmon, G; Barzilai, N; Hollowell, JG; Surks, MI; Gabriely, I (October 16, 2009). "Genetic Predisposition to Elevated Serum Thyrotropin is Associated with Exceptional Longevity". The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. 94 (12): 4768–4775. doi:10.1210/jc.2009-0808. PMC 2795660. PMID 19837933.
  9. ^ Suh, Y; Atzmon, G; Cho, M-O; Hwang, D; Liu, B; Leahy, D; Barzilai, N; Cohen, P (March 4, 2008). "Functionally-significant insulin-like growth factor-I receptor mutations in centenarian". PNAS. 105 (9): 3438–3442. Bibcode:2008PNAS..105.3438S. doi:10.1073/pnas.0705467105. PMC 2265137. PMID 18316725.
  10. ^ Carey, Benedict (May 21, 2009). "At the Bridge Table, Clues to a Lucid Old Age". The New York Times. Retrieved April 30, 2014.
  11. ^ P. Cohen Eureka Grant (2013-03-06). "CohBar, Inc: Innovations in the Treatment of Age-Related Diseases". Retrieved 2014-04-24.
  12. ^ Barzilai, N; Huffman, DM; Muzumdar, RH; Bartke, A (June 2012). "The critical role of metabolic pathways in aging". Diabetes. 61 (6): 1315–1322. doi:10.2337/db11-1300. PMC 3357299. PMID 22618766. Retrieved April 30, 2014.
  13. ^ Barzilai, N; Guarente, L; Kirkwood, TB; Patridge, L; Rando, TA; Slagboom, PE (July 10, 2012). "The place of genetics in ageing research". Nature Reviews Genetics. 13 (8): 589–594. doi:10.1038/nrg3290. PMID 22777128. S2CID 23717998.
  14. ^ Barzilai, Nir; Crandall, Jill P.; Kritchevsky, Stephen B.; Espeland, Mark A. (2016-06-14). "Metformin as a Tool to Target Aging". Cell Metabolism. 23 (6): 1060–1065. doi:10.1016/j.cmet.2016.05.011. ISSN 1550-4131. PMC 5943638. PMID 27304507.
  15. ^ Kulkarni AS, Brutsaert EF, Anghel V, Zhang K, Bloomgarden N, Pollak M, et al. (2018). "Metformin regulates metabolic and nonmetabolic pathways in skeletal muscle and subcutaneous adipose tissues of older adults". Aging Cell. 17 (2): e12723. doi:10.1111/acel.12723. PMC 5847877. PMID 29383869.
  16. ^ Kato, K; Zweig, R; Schechter, C; Verghese, J; Barzilai, N; Atzmon, G (March 23, 2013). "Personality, self-rated health, and cognition in centenarians: Do personality and self-rated health relate to cognitive function in advanced age?". Aging. 5 (3): 183–191. doi:10.18632/aging.100545. PMC 3629290. PMID 23524310.
  17. ^ "Nir Barzilai CV" (PDF). Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Mar 31, 2012. Retrieved April 30, 2014.
  18. ^ USA: Nir Barzilai (Technion, Hadassah), the man who wants to beat back aging