Professor, Department of Developmental Biology, Department of Medicine (Joint), School of Medicine
Shin-ichiro Imai received his MD and PhD degrees in 1989 and 1995, respectively, from Keio University School of Medicine in Tokyo, Japan, where he studied cellular aging-associated transcriptional regulation in human fibroblasts and proposed his “Heterochromatin Island Hypothesis of Aging.” To expand his aging research, he joined the laboratory of Leonard Guarente at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a Human Frontier Science Program Long-Term Fellow in 1997. During his postdoctoral period, he made a paradigm-shifting discovery of the NAD+-dependent protein deacetylase activity of yeast and mammalian Sir2 proteins and published his landmark paper in the journal Nature in 2000. In 2001, he joined the faculty of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri, and is currently a Professor in the Departments of Developmental Biology and Medicine. Professor Imai’s laboratory has been devoted to studying the roles of mammalian SIRT1 and NAMPT-mediated NAD+biosynthesis in the systemic regulation of aging and longevity in mammals. Based on his research, he has proposed a novel concept of a systemic regulatory network for mammalian aging/longevity control, named the “NAD World.” His long-term goal is to achieve “productive aging,” which aims to make our later lives as healthy and productive as possible, by understanding the spatial and temporal dynamics of our physiological system and developing nutriceutical/pharmaceutical interventions against age-associated functional decline. Professor Imai has received many prestigious awards for his works including the American Society for Cell Biology/Glenn Foundation Award, the Ellison Medical Foundation New Scholar Award in Aging, the American Diabetes Association Innovation Award, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Innovation Award, the Glenn Award for Research in Biological Mechanisms of Aging, the WUSM 2008 Distinguished Investigator Award, the Longer Life Foundation Pilot & Feasibility Award, and the Ellison Medical Foundation Senior Scholar in Aging Award. Professor Imai was also selected to be one of the Most Influential 100 People for Japan 2017 by Nikkei Business. He is living with his wife in the suburb of St. Louis and enjoying his Midwest life.