Awards, Honors, and Grants

January 27, 2021

Van Galen Wins Glenn Foundation/AFAR Grant to Study Aging in Blood Stem Cells

Peter van Galen, PhD

Peter van Galen, PhD, of the Division of Hematology, was awarded a Grant for Junior Faculty from the Glenn Foundation for Medical Research and the American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR) to analyze a dysfunction of blood stem cells in older adults. The grant is one of 10 distributed to early-career investigators whose work examines aging processes, rather than specific age-related diseases.

Van Galen’s project, “Epigenetic Mechanisms of Stem Cell Expansion in the Aging Hematopoietic System,” aims to characterize healthy and mutated stem cells in older adults to better understand the molecular mechanisms behind a condition called clonal hematopoiesis, which occurs when blood stem cells acquire genetic mutations that cause an expansion of these mutated cells. The process, which occurs in more than 10 percent of people over the age of 65, is associated with leukemia and cardiovascular disease.

The van Galen laboratory uses computational technologies to study the formation of normal and malignant blood cells at genetic and epigenetic levels, especially in acute myeloid leukemia. Ultimately, the team seeks to design new therapies to prevent the onset or progression of leukemia.

AFAR, a national nonprofit, and the Glenn Foundation for Medical Research seek to extend the healthy years of life by supporting biomedical research on the aging process. Through their partnership, the organizations distribute nearly $2.2 million in funds to promote research uncovering the basic, biological mechanisms behind aging.