The Auen Foundation

Auen Foundation and USC Davis School of Gerontology Partnership Continues to Revolutionize DNA Research

USC ResearchersA recent grant from the Auen Foun­da­tion allowed the Uni­ver­sity of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia Davis School of Geron­tol­ogy to pur­chase essen­tial research equip­ment, which will assist the biol­ogy team as it unrav­els details about dis­eases that affect older adults.

The Real-Time qPCR, also known as the DNA copy­ing machine, allows researchers and research assis­tants, many of whom are stu­dents, to cre­ate model sys­tems to deter­mine how envi­ron­men­tal changes influ­ence gene changes. This tech­nique, called poly­merase chain reac­tion (PCR), earned its cre­ators a Nobel Prize for Chem­istry in 1993. PCR maps the human genome, allow­ing researchers to pre­cisely quan­tify the num­ber of copies of genes in a par­tic­u­lar bio­log­i­cal sample.

This grant from the Auen Foun­da­tion is not only a gift to our pro­gram, but it is a gift to mankind as we unlock secrets that could help peo­ple live longer, more pro­duc­tive lives,” said Pin­chas Cohen, M.D.
Dean, USC Davis School of Gerontology.

Our nearly two-decades-old part­ner­ship with the USC Davis School of Geron­tol­ogy is extremely impor­tant to us,” said Catharine Reed, Auen Foun­da­tion Pro­gram Offi­cer. “The research and find­ings dis­cov­ered at the school help us ful­fill the foundation’s mis­sion to enhance the lives of the elderly.”

The grant also sup­plied the lab with a new Cell Cul­ture Incu­ba­tor, which allows researchers to con­trol the oxy­gen lev­els to that inside a human body. This process allows for a more accu­rate pic­ture of how cells nat­u­rally grow and reproduce.

This equip­ment is as essen­tial to a lab as a door­knob,” said Caleb “Tuck” Finch, Ph.D. Pro­fes­sor of Geron­tol­ogy and Bio­log­i­cal Sci­ence at USC Davis School of Geron­tol­ogy. “Aging is a com­plex bio­log­i­cal process that is influ­enced by both genes and the envi­ron­ment. With the Real-Time qPCR and the incu­ba­tors now in place, our biol­ogy fac­ulty, researchers and research assis­tants are able to more accu­rately pre­dict sus­cep­ti­bil­i­ties to many age-related diseases.”

The new equip­ment will enhance the university’s research into the causes and poten­tial treat­ments for dis­eases includ­ing Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Founded in 1975, the USC Davis School of Geron­tol­ogy is the old­est and largest school of its type in the world. It offers a com­pre­hen­sive selec­tion of geron­tol­ogy degree pro­grams with ongo­ing research on aging. For more infor­ma­tion about the USC Davis School of Geron­tol­ogy or its research, visit or call
(213) 740‑5156.
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