Internationally renowned scientist Jan Van Deursen is responsible for discovering a critical cause of ageing and developing novel treatments for age-related diseases. Born in the Netherlands, Van Deursen earned his PhD in cell biology from the University of Nijmegen. In 1994, he moved to the United States to pursue his research. As a scientist at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, Van Deursen became the centre’s transgenic and gene knockout core facility director. He then became the chair of the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology department at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, where he continued his work.
A native of Nijmegen, the Netherlands, Jan Van Deursen earned a Bachelor of Science in biology from the University of Nijmegen. After working at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Van Deursen launched his independent research career. He studied human nuclear-cytoplasmic transport and regulation, developing a mouse gene knockout core facility. His discoveries have been published in leading scientific journals. And he continues to collaborate with many leading researchers in the field.
While Jan Van Deursen is a renowned biochemist, he also mentors many young scientists in the field of medicine. His research has helped Dr Childs become a successful physician-scientist and continues mentoring dozens of young researchers to achieve their goals. With so many accolades under his belt, the career path of Jan Van Deursen is certainly impressive. And what makes it all the more impressive is that he is now a well-known figure in the field of cellular biology.
The study showed that mice with genetically modified cells that kill senescent cells were 60 percent less likely to accumulate plaque in major arteries. The research, published in Science and Nature journals, was named a breakthrough in 2016, and Dr. van Deursen’s research was ranked fifth in the journal Science and placed among the top ten breakthroughs of the year. If this proves true, Dr Childs will continue his work in medicine.
In addition to his work as a scientist, Jan Van Deursen also co-founded a biotech company called Unity Biotechnology. This company specializes in removing senescent cells from the body. The company is now gearing up for clinical trials on osteoarthritis. The company has many other investors, including Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man. If you want a high-quality medical device, Jan Van Deursen is the man to talk to.
The Mayo Clinic’s Dr Van Deursen’s work has helped scientists study ageing and cancer and to develop effective treatments. He has published many papers in scientific journals, including Nature. Among his many scientific publications, “Watershed: An Understanding of the Origins of Aging” and the Diseases It Causes
As the chair of the Mayo Clinic, Jan Van Deursen championed diversity among faculty members. As chair, he filled 5 of the six tenure track positions with diverse candidates. He also championed the cause of non-tenure track faculty at Mayo Clinic, working with senior leadership to improve institutional support and mentoring programs for these individuals. In addition, his research lab was diverse throughout his career, and that’s a testament to his ability to change the world of medicine.
Dr Van Deursen’s work on ageing has influenced many companies, and unity Biotechnology is one such company. This company aims to develop therapies to reverse or slow the ageing process. In particular, Unity Biotechnology has discovered that removing senescent cells can reverse ageing. If this technology can be refined and made more accessible to the general public, it may lead to life-extending therapies.
Dr. van Deursen genetically modified two mouse strains to kill senescent cells in his research. The researchers then injected this compound twice weekly into middle-aged mice. While the procedure failed to eliminate all senescent cells, it did kill 50% to 70% of them in some tissues. Dr. van Deursen’s team also developed mouse models to study ageing. And by doing this, they were able to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease.