USC-Buck Nathan Shock Center

The USC-Buck Nathan Shock Center of Excellence in the Biology of Aging is a new and fully integrated multi-institutional center focused on training the next generation of geroscientists and providing access to cutting edge geroscience technologies to investigators across the nation.

The USC-Buck NSC aims to provide intellectual leadership and innovation in aging biology and to collaborate substantially with other NSC’s and the Nathan Shock Center’s Coordinating Center currently run by the American Federation for Aging Research. The USC-Buck NSC  is devoted to forging a deeper understanding of how and why aging processes cause disease in order to advance the translation of basic research on aging into effective preventions and therapies. Specialized cores provide services to all Shock Center members, as well as for-fee services to the community at large.

The Buck Institute as an independent, free-standing Institute with a laser focus on aging at a phase of rapid growth and USC is a major research university that encompasses all research pillars of aging with extensive resources associated with a large research-focused university. The unique nature of our research infrastructure, which constitutes one of the largest collections of leaders in geroscience research within the US, ensures that the USC-Buck NSC will be an integrated organization that is representative of the wide breadth of topics encompassed by the biology of aging field.

Together, the USC-Buck NSC is greater than the sum of its parts.


The NSC cores focus on cellular senescence, genomic translation across species and geroscience technology.

Administrative/Program Enrichment Core (APEC)

The Administrative/Program Enrichment Core (APEC) led by Gordon J. Lithgow and Sean P. Curran aims to integrate the USC-Buck NSC across USC and the Buck Institute for Research on Aging will include more than 61 NIA-supported investigators, six NIA-funded research centers, four NIA T32s, and several additional aging research centers of excellence. The core provides infrastructure support and leadership to the USC-Buck NSC cores, access to essential resources, coordination with other NSCs across the nation, and procurement of matching institutional financial support exceeding $1 million over 5 years.

Associate Professor Sean Curran

Sean Curran
Administrative Core Lead
USC Leonard Davis School


Gordon Lithgow
Administrative Core Lead
Buck Institute

The Research Development Core (RDC)

The Research Development Core (RDC) led by Julie K. Andersen and Kelvin Davies will provide training in state-of-the-art methodologies, coordinate Research Sabbaticals in Aging and mentorship opportunities with world-class faculty and educational opportunities. The core will identify pilot project opportunities from a nation-wide search that provides access to all USC-Buck NSC Cores. The goal of this Core is to provide future aging researchers access to the wealth of experience, expertise, and resources at both campuses. These efforts are modeled after our successful joint Biology of Aging PhD program.


The Genomic Translation Across Species Core (GTASC)

The Genomic Translation Across Species Core (GTASC) Core, led by Eileen Crimmins and Em Arpawong at USC, will overcome a historical barrier of connecting geroscience research in model systems to human health and aging. The core will provide researchers utilizing model-organisms (yeast, worms, flies, fish, and mice) the ability to interrogate a rich resource of human genomic SNP, methylation, and expression data from the NIH Health and Retirement Study (HRS). Analyses of gene-environment and gene-gene interactions and human Phenotype-Wide Association Scans (PheWAS) will provide important results in the context of human aging and facilitate innovative research directions across models.


The Cellular Senescence and Beyond Core (CSBC)

The Cellular Senescence and Beyond Core (CSBC), led by Judith Campisi and Birgit Schilling at the Buck Institute, will determine how specific cell fates (e.g. senescence, apoptosis, competition) contribute to aging and methods of intervention across models (e.g. cultured cells, organoids, tissue and organ samples, and organisms). The Core will help researchers characterize both cell-autonomous and non-autonomous features of these cell fates, provide established assays, and give advice regarding intervention strategies.


The Geroscience Technology Core (GTC)

The Geroscience Technology Core (GTC), led by Valter Longo and Simon Melov, will provide vouchers for access to a range of technology platforms and deep expertise in many aspects of aging. This will include access to all existing institutional technology and expertise across various model systems at both institutions. Unique capabilities include studies of air pollution exposure, female reproductive aging, and cutting-edge technologies for single-cell analyses, mitochondria and metabolism, and bioinformatics.



The USC-Buck NSC will invest in many research retreats and conferences highlighting USC-Buck NSC investigators and featuring research leadership at other NSCs across the country to facilitate collaboration across the collective USC-Buck NSC units. We will initiate a series of events that will bring together scholars from USC and the Buck as well as regional, national and international experts to meet, present, discuss, and advance the geroscience agenda. We plan to establish this as an annual event in addition to several topic-related events. These include established platforms for sharing discoveries, such as weekly Leonard Davis School of Gerontology Research Colloquium Series, the long-standing annual Buck Research Symposium and USC’s annual What’s Hot in Aging Research meetings. We plan to invite USC-Buck NSC participants to speak at these events in order to feature their accomplishments, with an emphasis on joint projects.