Michael Garratt, PhD, Receives $50,000 AFAR Research Grant for Junior Faculty

By Fred Yaeger | American Federation for Aging Research | 20 October

Michael Garratt, PhD, Assistant Professor of Genetics and Aging in the Department of Pathology, has received a $50,000 Research Grant from the American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR). Founded in 1981, AFAR is the premier not-for-profit organization supporting biomedical research to advance healthy aging and address age-related diseases.

Dr. Garratt’s AFAR-supported research will study how sensory perception of the social environment regulates mouse development, metabolism, and aging.

The AFAR Research Grant for Junior Faculty provides an early career investigator with a one- to two-year award to support research focused on aging processes and age-related diseases. Moreover, this grant provides flexible support at a critical juncture in their career development when research funding is most difficult to obtain.

An AFAR Research Grant for Junior Faculty not only supports a scientist’s specific research but also advances their career in the field. “AFAR grants serve as a catalyst to help an investigator obtain subsequent funding, publication, and career advancement,” notes Stephanie Lederman, AFAR’s Executive Director.

AFAR’s grant recipients are selected through a rigorous review process. This year, AFAR received 148 letters of intent for the Research Grant for Junior Faculty program, which are first reviewed by a select group of key AFAR Scientific board members and members of AFAR’s National Scientific Advisory Council (NSAC). A subset of applicants are invited to submit full applications, which are reviewed by the AFAR Research Grant for Junior Faculty Selection Committee.

 “The dedicated scientists who review AFAR’s grant applications bring a depth of expertise and breadth of scientific knowledge that is unmatched in the field of aging research,” says AFAR’s Scientific Director, Steven N. Austad, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor and Department Chair, Department of Biology, University of Alabama at Birmingham.

On receiving an AFAR Research Grant for Junior Faculty, Dr. Garratt: notes: “AFAR provides a much needed stream of funding and support dedicated to understanding and treating the aging process. For me, this grant provides resources to dedicate to research about how sensory perception may regulate aging in mice, hopefully providing a foundation for my research in years to come.” 

This year, AFAR is awarding ten Research Grants for Junior Faculty, totaling $800,000 dollars. To date, AFAR has awarded more than $175 million in grants to support more than 4,400 investigators and students at more than 500 leading institutions across the U.S. as well as Ireland, Israel, Italy, and the United Kingdom.

AFAR’s support of solid science in the biology of aging is more critical than ever. While the world’s population over 65 years old is growing an unprecedented rate, “AFAR Research Grants for Junior Faculty help create a career pipeline that is essential to advancing better therapies for age-related diseases and discoveries that will help us all live healthier, longer,” notes Ms. Lederman.