Cynthia Kenyon

Cynthia Kenyon graduated valedictorian in chemistry and biochemistry from the University of Georgia in 1976. She received her PhD in 1981 from MIT where, in Graham Walker's laboratory, she looked for genes on the basis of their activity 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, England, studying the development of C. elegans.
Since 1986 she has been at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), where she was the Herbert Boyer Distinguished Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics and is now an American Cancer Society Professor. In 1999 she co-founded Elixir Pharmaceuticals with Leonard Guarente to try to discover and develop drugs that would slow down the process that makes people age. In April 2014, Kenyon was named Vice President of Aging Research at Calico, a new company focused on health, well-being, and longevity. Prior to that, she served as a part-time advisor beginning in November 2013. Kenyon will remain affiliated with UCSF as an emeritus professor.