A native of Scotland, Gordon Lithgow received his PhD from the University of Glasgow and obtained further training at Ciba Geigy AG, Basel, Switzerland and the University of Colorado, USA. He established his lab studying the biology of aging at the University of Manchester, England, before moving to the Buck Institute in 2000.
Lithgow’s lab is focused on understanding the role of aging in the origins of age-related chronic disease. Specifically, his lab has led the field in the identification of pharmacological interventions in aging. His lab published the first account of pharmacological lifespan extension in an animal in a high-profile journal prompting the last 16 years of effort to find compounds that extend lifespan in different animal models in scores of labs.
The Lithgow lab also utilizes molecular genetics, biochemistry and a range of leading edge technologies including proteomics and metabolomics. His team utilizes the microscopic worm, C. elegans, which ages rapidly but exhibits many characteristics of human aging. Using this model, the lab had identified scores of chemical compounds that suppress disease phenotypes and extend lifespan. Many of these compounds promote protein homeostasis, which usually fails during normal aging and is also a factor in diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Lithgow has been recognized for his research with a Glenn Award for Research in Biological Mechanisms of Aging, senior scholarship from the Ellison Medical Foundation and the Tenovus Award for Biomedical Research. He has served on many national advisory panels in both the United Kingdom and the USA including the National Institute on Aging’s Board of Scientific Councilors and the Chair of Biological Sciences at the Gerontology Society of America.
Lithgow has partnered with a series of biotechnology companies in sponsored research agreements and has strong collaborations in pre-clinical aging research on diseases such as osteoporosis and Parkinson’s disease.