Stuart Kim Lab

Stanford University

Dept. Dev. Biology and Genetics






Research Areas

Our long term goal is to understand the process of growing old, and then try to slow down or reverse the aging process. We want to understand the underlying clock for aging that dictates the rate at which normal aging occurs. Aging is a strong risk factor for many diseases, such as cancer and cardiovascular disease.  If we could understand the underlying basis for aging, we could reduce the risk of getting these diseases. 


C. elegans aging

We are using the nematode C. elegans as a model system for aging, because it has a rapid lifespan, a small size, a powerful genetic toolkit and many mutants are already known to lengthen lifespan. Our approach is to first identify genes that are differentially expressed in old versus young animals, and then to dissect apart how changes in these genes lead to functional decline and senescence in old age.



kidney aging

We are studying aging of the human kidney, which begins to show functional decline around age 40. Kidneys age at different rates, such that some people show little or no effects of aging whereas others show rapid functional decline of the kidney.

We have developed a gene expression signature that can be used as an epigenetic clock for normal kidney aging. A major factor responsible for kidney aging is chronic inflammation. At least three pro-inflammatory signaling pathways lead to activation of transcriptional cascades in old age.

Extreme Longevity

Aging and disease are closely related as aging is the largest risk factor for disease, and age-related disease is the primary factor limiting lifespan in modern society. If we could understand the underlying basis for aging, we could reduce the risk of getting these diseases.  One potential area for a breakthrough is studying the genetics of people that live to extreme old age, such as centenarians and supercentenarians.  Centenarians often showamazing robustness for their age – many are exceptionally alert, active and healthy. Supercentenarians (110 years or older) are the world’s oldest people. Seventy four are alive worldwide, with twenty two in the United States. 

We are using full genome sequencing and genome-wide association studies to find genetic loci associated with extreme longevity.







The Kim Lab is located at Stanford University in the Department of Developmental Biology. Maps to the lab can be found here.





Mailing address:

Stanford University Medical Center

Department of Developmental Biology

279 Campus Drive

Stanford, CA 94305-5329

phone: ++1-650-725-7671

fax: ++1-650-725-7739


Last modified 8/2012