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Cynthia Kenyon, PhD

TitleProfessor Emeritus
InstitutionUniversity of California San Francisco
DepartmentBiochemistry and Biophysics
Address600 16th St
San Francisco CA 94158
Phone415-476-9250
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    Cynthia Kenyon graduated valedictorian in chemistry and biochemistry from the University of Georgia in 1976. She received her PhD from MIT in 1981, where, in Graham Walker’s laboratory, she was the first to look for genes on the basis of their expression profiles, discovering that DNA damaging agents activate a battery of DNA repair genes in E. coli. She then did postdoctoral studies with Nobel laureate Sydney Brenner at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, UK, studying the development of C. elegans. Since 1986 she has been at the University of California, San Francisco, where she was the Herbert Boyer Distinguished Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics and is now an American Cancer Society Professor. In 1993, Kenyon and colleagues’ discovery that a single-gene mutation could double the lifespan of C. elegans sparked an intensive study of the molecular biology of aging. These findings have now led to the discovery that an evolutionarily conserved hormone signaling system controls aging in other organisms as well, including mammals. Dr. Kenyon has received many honors and awards for her findings. She is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Institute of Medicine and she is a past president of the Genetics Society of America. She is now the director of the Hillblom Center for the Biology of Aging at UCSF.


    Collapse Research 
    Collapse Research Activities and Funding
    Translational Studies Linking Aging and Cancer
    NIH/NIA R01AG044515Sep 30, 2013 - Jun 30, 2018
    Role: Co-Principal Investigator
    Human Gene Knockdowns that May Extend Lifespan
    NIH/NIA R01AG041826May 1, 2012 - Apr 30, 2017
    Role: Co-Principal Investigator
    Signals from the reproductive system that regulate aging in C. elegans
    NIH/NIA R01AG032435Jul 1, 2008 - Mar 31, 2019
    Role: Co-Principal Investigator
    Lifespan regulation by the DAF-12 nuclear hormone receptor in C. elegans
    NIH/NIA R01AG020932Sep 1, 2002 - Aug 31, 2012
    Role: Principal Investigator
    AGING AND NEURODEGENERATIVE DISEASES
    NIH/NIA T32AG000278Jun 1, 2002 - Apr 30, 2008
    Role: Principal Investigator
    Genetic Analysis of Aging in C. elegans
    NIH/NIA R01AG011816Apr 1, 1994 - Mar 31, 2019
    Role: Co-Principal Investigator
    Genetic Control of Aging in C. elegans
    NIH/NIA R37AG011816Apr 1, 1994 - Mar 31, 2014
    Role: Principal Investigator
    ANTERO POSTERIOR PATTERN FORMATION IN C ELEGANS
    NIH/NIGMS R01GM037053Sep 1, 1986 - Aug 31, 2002
    Role: Principal Investigator
    Bio-Organic Biomedical Mass Spectrometry Resource
    NIH P41RR001614Mar 1, 1982 - May 31, 2015
    Role: Co-Investigator

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    Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Researchers can login to make corrections and additions, or contact us for help.
    List All   |   Timeline
    1. Bohnert KA, Kenyon C. A lysosomal switch triggers proteostasis renewal in the immortal C. elegans germ lineage. Nature. 2017 11 30; 551(7682):629-633. PMID: 29168500.
      View in: PubMed
    2. Podshivalova K, Kerr RA, Kenyon C. How a Mutation that Slows Aging Can Also Disproportionately Extend End-of-Life Decrepitude. Cell Rep. 2017 04 18; 19(3):441-450. PMID: 28423308.
      View in: PubMed
    3. Narayan V, Ly T, Pourkarimi E, Murillo AB, Gartner A, Lamond AI, Kenyon C. Deep Proteome Analysis Identifies Age-Related Processes in C. elegans. Cell Syst. 2016 Aug; 3(2):144-159. PMID: 27453442; PMCID: PMC5003814.
    4. Wei Y, Kenyon C. Roles for ROS and hydrogen sulfide in the longevity response to germline loss in Caenorhabditis elegans. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016 May 17; 113(20):E2832-41. PMID: 27140632; PMCID: PMC4878494.
    5. Bensaddek D, Narayan V, Nicolas A, Murillo AB, Gartner A, Kenyon C, Lamond AI. Micro-proteomics with iterative data analysis: Proteome analysis in C. elegans at the single worm level. Proteomics. 2016 Feb; 16(3):381-92. PMID: 26552604.
      View in: PubMed
    6. Longo VD, Antebi A, Bartke A, Barzilai N, Brown-Borg HM, Caruso C, Curiel TJ, de Cabo R, Franceschi C, Gems D, Ingram DK, Johnson TE, Kennedy BK, Kenyon C, Klein S, Kopchick JJ, Lepperdinger G, Madeo F, Mirisola MG, Mitchell JR, Passarino G, Rudolph KL, Sedivy JM, Shadel GS, Sinclair DA, Spindler SR, Suh Y, Vijg J, Vinciguerra M, Fontana L. Interventions to Slow Aging in Humans: Are We Ready? Aging Cell. 2015 Aug; 14(4):497-510. PMID: 25902704.
      View in: PubMed
    7. Judy ME, Nakamura A, Huang A, Grant H, McCurdy H, Weiberth KF, Gao F, Coppola G, Kenyon C, Kao AW. A shift to organismal stress resistance in programmed cell death mutants. PLoS Genet. 2013; 9(9):e1003714. PMID: 24068943; PMCID: PMC3778000.
    8. Safra M, Ben-Hamo S, Kenyon C, Henis-Korenblit S. The ire-1 ER stress-response pathway is required for normal secretory-protein metabolism in C. elegans. J Cell Sci. 2013 Sep 15; 126(Pt 18):4136-46. PMID: 23843615; PMCID: PMC3772388.
    9. Zhang P, Judy M, Lee SJ, Kenyon C. Direct and indirect gene regulation by a life-extending FOXO protein in C. elegans: roles for GATA factors and lipid gene regulators. Cell Metab. 2013 Jan 08; 17(1):85-100. PMID: 23312285; PMCID: PMC3969420.
    10. Kenyon C. Could a hormone point the way to life extension? Elife. 2012 Oct 15; 1:e00286. PMID: 23071903; PMCID: PMC3470722.
    11. McCormick M, Chen K, Ramaswamy P, Kenyon C. New genes that extend Caenorhabditis elegans' lifespan in response to reproductive signals. Aging Cell. 2012 Apr; 11(2):192-202. PMID: 22081913; PMCID: PMC4342234.
    12. Middelkoop TC, Williams L, Yang PT, Luchtenberg J, Betist MC, Ji N, van Oudenaarden A, Kenyon C, Korswagen HC. The thrombospondin repeat containing protein MIG-21 controls a left-right asymmetric Wnt signaling response in migrating C. elegans neuroblasts. Dev Biol. 2012 Jan 15; 361(2):338-48. PMID: 22074987.
      View in: PubMed
    13. Kenyon C. QnAs with Cynthia Kenyon. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Oct 11; 108(41):16875. PMID: 21969585; PMCID: PMC3193244.
    14. Tank EM, Rodgers KE, Kenyon C. Spontaneous age-related neurite branching in Caenorhabditis elegans. J Neurosci. 2011 Jun 22; 31(25):9279-88. PMID: 21697377; PMCID: PMC3148144.
    15. Kao AW, Eisenhut RJ, Martens LH, Nakamura A, Huang A, Bagley JA, Zhou P, de Luis A, Neukomm LJ, Cabello J, Farese RV, Kenyon C. A neurodegenerative disease mutation that accelerates the clearance of apoptotic cells. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Mar 15; 108(11):4441-6. PMID: 21368173; PMCID: PMC3060230.
    16. Kenyon C. The first long-lived mutants: discovery of the insulin/IGF-1 pathway for ageing. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2011 Jan 12; 366(1561):9-16. PMID: 21115525; PMCID: PMC3001308.
    17. Lee SJ, Hwang AB, Kenyon C. Inhibition of respiration extends C. elegans life span via reactive oxygen species that increase HIF-1 activity. Curr Biol. 2010 Dec 07; 20(23):2131-6. PMID: 21093262; PMCID: PMC3058811.
    18. Yamawaki TM, Berman JR, Suchanek-Kavipurapu M, McCormick M, Gaglia MM, Lee SJ, Kenyon C. The somatic reproductive tissues of C. elegans promote longevity through steroid hormone signaling. PLoS Biol. 2010 Aug 31; 8(8). PMID: 20824162; PMCID: PMC2930862.
    19. David DC, Ollikainen N, Trinidad JC, Cary MP, Burlingame AL, Kenyon C. Widespread protein aggregation as an inherent part of aging in C. elegans. PLoS Biol. 2010 Aug 10; 8(8):e1000450. PMID: 20711477; PMCID: PMC2919420.
    20. Kenyon C. A pathway that links reproductive status to lifespan in Caenorhabditis elegans. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2010 Aug; 1204:156-62. PMID: 20738286.
      View in: PubMed
    21. Henis-Korenblit S, Zhang P, Hansen M, McCormick M, Lee SJ, Cary M, Kenyon C. Insulin/IGF-1 signaling mutants reprogram ER stress response regulators to promote longevity. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 May 25; 107(21):9730-5. PMID: 20460307; PMCID: PMC2906894.
    22. Kenyon C. The genetics of ageing. Nature. 2010 Mar 25; 464(7288):504-12. PMID: 20336132.
      View in: PubMed
    23. Blagosklonny MV, Campisi J, Sinclair DA, Bartke A, Blasco MA, Bonner WM, Bohr VA, Brosh RM, Brunet A, Depinho RA, Donehower LA, Finch CE, Finkel T, Gorospe M, Gudkov AV, Hall MN, Hekimi S, Helfand SL, Karlseder J, Kenyon C, Kroemer G, Longo V, Nussenzweig A, Osiewacz HD, Peeper DS, Rando TA, Rudolph KL, Sassone-Corsi P, Serrano M, Sharpless NE, Skulachev VP, Tilly JL, Tower J, Verdin E, Vijg J. Impact papers on aging in 2009. Aging (Albany NY). 2010 Mar; 2(3):111-21. PMID: 20351400; PMCID: PMC2871240.
    24. Lee SJ, Murphy CT, Kenyon C. Glucose shortens the life span of C. elegans by downregulating DAF-16/FOXO activity and aquaporin gene expression. Cell Metab. 2009 Nov; 10(5):379-91. PMID: 19883616; PMCID: PMC2887095.
    25. Ghazi A, Henis-Korenblit S, Kenyon C. A transcription elongation factor that links signals from the reproductive system to lifespan extension in Caenorhabditis elegans. PLoS Genet. 2009 Sep; 5(9):e1000639. PMID: 19749979; PMCID: PMC2729384.
    26. Gaglia MM, Kenyon C. Stimulation of movement in a quiescent, hibernation-like form of Caenorhabditis elegans by dopamine signaling. J Neurosci. 2009 Jun 03; 29(22):7302-14. PMID: 19494152; PMCID: PMC2919683.
    27. Lee SJ, Kenyon C. Regulation of the longevity response to temperature by thermosensory neurons in Caenorhabditis elegans. Curr Biol. 2009 May 12; 19(9):715-22. PMID: 19375320; PMCID: PMC2868911.
    28. Cristina D, Cary M, Lunceford A, Clarke C, Kenyon C. A regulated response to impaired respiration slows behavioral rates and increases lifespan in Caenorhabditis elegans. PLoS Genet. 2009 Apr; 5(4):e1000450. PMID: 19360127; PMCID: PMC2660839.
    29. Hansen M, Chandra A, Mitic LL, Onken B, Driscoll M, Kenyon C. A role for autophagy in the extension of lifespan by dietary restriction in C. elegans. PLoS Genet. 2008 Feb; 4(2):e24. PMID: 18282106; PMCID: PMC2242811.
    30. Yamawaki TM, Arantes-Oliveira N, Berman JR, Zhang P, Kenyon C. Distinct activities of the germline and somatic reproductive tissues in the regulation of Caenorhabditis elegans' longevity. Genetics. 2008 Jan; 178(1):513-26. PMID: 18202391; PMCID: PMC2206098.
    31. Murphy CT, Lee SJ, Kenyon C. Tissue entrainment by feedback regulation of insulin gene expression in the endoderm of Caenorhabditis elegans. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 Nov 27; 104(48):19046-50. PMID: 18025456; PMCID: PMC2141905.
    32. Pinkston-Gosse J, Kenyon C. DAF-16/FOXO targets genes that regulate tumor growth in Caenorhabditis elegans. Nat Genet. 2007 Nov; 39(11):1403-9. PMID: 17934462.
      View in: PubMed
    33. Crawford D, Libina N, Kenyon C. Caenorhabditis elegans integrates food and reproductive signals in lifespan determination. Aging Cell. 2007 Oct; 6(5):715-21. PMID: 17711560.
      View in: PubMed
    34. Ghazi A, Henis-Korenblit S, Kenyon C. Regulation of Caenorhabditis elegans lifespan by a proteasomal E3 ligase complex. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 Apr 03; 104(14):5947-52. PMID: 17392428; PMCID: PMC1851597.
    35. Hansen M, Taubert S, Crawford D, Libina N, Lee SJ, Kenyon C. Lifespan extension by conditions that inhibit translation in Caenorhabditis elegans. Aging Cell. 2007 Feb; 6(1):95-110. PMID: 17266679.
      View in: PubMed
    36. Broué F, Liere P, Kenyon C, Baulieu EE. A steroid hormone that extends the lifespan of Caenorhabditis elegans. Aging Cell. 2007 Feb; 6(1):87-94. PMID: 17266678.
      View in: PubMed
    37. Pinkston JM, Garigan D, Hansen M, Kenyon C. Mutations that increase the life span of C. elegans inhibit tumor growth. Science. 2006 Aug 18; 313(5789):971-5. PMID: 16917064.
      View in: PubMed
    38. Kenyon C, Murphy CT. Enrichment of regulatory motifs upstream of predicted DAF-16 targets. Nat Genet. 2006 Apr; 38(4):397-8; author reply 398. PMID: 16570056.
      View in: PubMed
    39. Berman JR, Kenyon C. Germ-cell loss extends C. elegans life span through regulation of DAF-16 by kri-1 and lipophilic-hormone signaling. Cell. 2006 Mar 10; 124(5):1055-68. PMID: 16530050.
      View in: PubMed
    40. Ackley BD, Harrington RJ, Hudson ML, Williams L, Kenyon C, Chisholm AD, Jin Y. The two isoforms of the Caenorhabditis elegans leukocyte-common antigen related receptor tyrosine phosphatase PTP-3 function independently in axon guidance and synapse formation. J Neurosci. 2005 Aug 17; 25(33):7517-28. PMID: 16107639.
      View in: PubMed
    41. Hansen M, Hsu AL, Dillin A, Kenyon C. New genes tied to endocrine, metabolic, and dietary regulation of lifespan from a Caenorhabditis elegans genomic RNAi screen. PLoS Genet. 2005 Jul; 1(1):119-28. PMID: 16103914; PMCID: PMC1183531.
    42. Yang L, Sym M, Kenyon C. The roles of two C. elegans HOX co-factor orthologs in cell migration and vulva development. Development. 2005 Mar; 132(6):1413-28. PMID: 15750187.
      View in: PubMed
    43. Kenyon C. The plasticity of aging: insights from long-lived mutants. Cell. 2005 Feb 25; 120(4):449-60. PMID: 15734678.
      View in: PubMed
    44. McCarroll SA, Murphy CT, Zou S, Pletcher SD, Chin CS, Jan YN, Kenyon C, Bargmann CI, Li H. Comparing genomic expression patterns across species identifies shared transcriptional profile in aging. Nat Genet. 2004 Feb; 36(2):197-204. PMID: 14730301.
      View in: PubMed
    45. Alcedo J, Kenyon C. Regulation of C. elegans longevity by specific gustatory and olfactory neurons. Neuron. 2004 Jan 08; 41(1):45-55. PMID: 14715134.
      View in: PubMed
    46. Kenyon C. My adventures with genes from the fountain of youth. Harvey Lect. 2004-2005; 100:29-70. PMID: 16970174.
      View in: PubMed
    47. Libina N, Berman JR, Kenyon C. Tissue-specific activities of C. elegans DAF-16 in the regulation of lifespan. Cell. 2003 Nov 14; 115(4):489-502. PMID: 14622602.
      View in: PubMed
    48. Arantes-Oliveira N, Berman JR, Kenyon C. Healthy animals with extreme longevity. Science. 2003 Oct 24; 302(5645):611. PMID: 14576426.
      View in: PubMed
    49. Ch'ng Q, Williams L, Lie YS, Sym M, Whangbo J, Kenyon C. Identification of genes that regulate a left-right asymmetric neuronal migration in Caenorhabditis elegans. Genetics. 2003 Aug; 164(4):1355-67. PMID: 12930745; PMCID: PMC1462652.
    50. Murphy CT, McCarroll SA, Bargmann CI, Fraser A, Kamath RS, Ahringer J, Li H, Kenyon C. Genes that act downstream of DAF-16 to influence the lifespan of Caenorhabditis elegans. Nature. 2003 Jul 17; 424(6946):277-83. PMID: 12845331.
      View in: PubMed
    51. Hsu AL, Murphy CT, Kenyon C. Regulation of aging and age-related disease by DAF-16 and heat-shock factor. Science. 2003 May 16; 300(5622):1142-5. PMID: 12750521.
      View in: PubMed
    52. Dillin A, Hsu AL, Arantes-Oliveira N, Lehrer-Graiwer J, Hsin H, Fraser AG, Kamath RS, Ahringer J, Kenyon C. Rates of behavior and aging specified by mitochondrial function during development. Science. 2002 Dec 20; 298(5602):2398-401. PMID: 12471266.
      View in: PubMed
    53. Dillin A, Crawford DK, Kenyon C. Timing requirements for insulin/IGF-1 signaling in C. elegans. Science. 2002 Oct 25; 298(5594):830-4. PMID: 12399591.
      View in: PubMed
    54. Garigan D, Hsu AL, Fraser AG, Kamath RS, Ahringer J, Kenyon C. Genetic analysis of tissue aging in Caenorhabditis elegans: a role for heat-shock factor and bacterial proliferation. Genetics. 2002 Jul; 161(3):1101-12. PMID: 12136014.
      View in: PubMed
    55. Alper S, Kenyon C. The zinc finger protein REF-2 functions with the Hox genes to inhibit cell fusion in the ventral epidermis of C. elegans. Development. 2002 Jul; 129(14):3335-48. PMID: 12091304.
      View in: PubMed
    56. Arantes-Oliveira N, Apfeld J, Dillin A, Kenyon C. Regulation of life-span by germ-line stem cells in Caenorhabditis elegans. Science. 2002 Jan 18; 295(5554):502-5. PMID: 11799246.
      View in: PubMed
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