Aging human brain is focus of Beckerman Trust
Is there a relationship between sites of DNA damage and changes in the expression of specific genes during aging? Does this relationship change in the genomes of individuals with cognitive decline, both at early stages and at the more severe stage known as Alzheimer's disease? And why are some individuals able to live past 100 and remain intact cognitively?
To gain greater insight into these questions, Bruce Yankner, MD, PhD, professor of genetics and neurology at Harvard Medical School and co-director of the Paul F. Glenn Laboratories for the Biological Mechanisms of Aging, is researching the molecular basis of brain aging and neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's.
This important work is being supported by the late George Beckerman, who established a charitable remainder trust in 2000 to benefit HMS. The gift provided him with a tax deduction and income before his death at age 97. Now the principal is benefiting Yankner’s research and other laboratories.
"George Beckerman was someone with a long view," says Yankner, recalling numerous meetings with his benefactor over the years. "He was a visionary who funded my team’s research at a critical phase, when speculative, large-scale database research was not easy to fund. And he played a large role in our initial demonstration of gene changes in the aging brain."
Beckerman, a successful real estate investor, has been described as smart, dynamic, and upbeat. Having lived with diabetes for more than 70 years, Aging human brain is focus of Beckerman Trust he is believed to be one of the longest survivors of the disease treated with insulin. His own experiences with chronic illness, and seeing family members suffer from others, solidified his commitment to improving the quality of life for those around him. In addition to his contribution to the School, he donated much of his money to an array of organizations, including those focused on cancer research and summer camps for children with diabetes.
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