Skip to main content

Adam Hruby, a doctoral student in the Sanabria Lab at the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology, has been selected as a fellow in the highly competitive National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP). The program recognizes outstanding graduate students pursuing research in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Former fellows include more than 40 Nobel Laureates and over 450 members of the National Academy of Sciences.

Hruby is one of ten USC students to earn the three-year fellowship in 2024. It provides a $37,000 annual stipend, additional money for tuition, as well as professional development and international research opportunities.

“This fellowship provides essential support for graduate students conducting innovative research and I am honored to have been selected,” said Hruby, who is pursuing his PhD in the biology of aging at the Leonard Davis School. “The funding will allow me to acquire the necessary equipment and tools to advance our understanding of aging and develop novel approaches for promoting healthy aging.”

Hruby’s research delves into the fundamental electrical properties of cells and their changes during aging, particularly focusing on membrane potential—the electric charge that exists across cell membranes. Using the model organism Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans), renowned for its relevance in aging and nervous system studies, Hruby uses specialized dyes and genetic approaches to understand how membrane potential changes across different tissues with age. He plans to explore ways to restore membrane potential in aged C. elegans in order to assess its impact on lifespan and tissue function.

“Cells form intricate networks using membrane potential to communicate and coordinate their behavior,” said Hruby. “Understanding how these bioelectric networks are impaired during aging could lead to innovative strategies for anti-aging interventions.”

After his doctoral studies, Hruby hopes to continue his research in academia, with the ultimate goal of establishing his own research lab. The fellowship is “just the beginning of Adam making great discoveries and contributions to science as a leader in the field of bioenergetics and aging,” according to Hruby’s mentor, Assistant Professor Ryo Sanabria.

“He is an exceptional student, an innovative thinker, and a ridiculously hardworking person,” Sanabria said. “I was glad to see that his hard work and creativity was rewarded with receiving the NSF GRFP, as this project was fully his own independent thinking, which highlights the level of scientific maturity and expertise he displays.”

Close Menu