The Paul G. Allen Frontiers Group, a bioscience research initiative, awarded UCLA’s Steve Horvath an Allen Distinguished Investigator award. This award is given to researchers conducting pioneering research in epigenetics, aging and evolution. Each investigator is funded at $1.5 million over three years, totaling $7.5 million in funding.

Horvath recently developed a way to measure the age of any human tissue by looking at a combination of chemical changes to the DNA. This “epigenetic clock” is highly correlated with chronological age across the entire lifespan and even predicts life expectancy. Horvath will seek to enhance the clock so that it becomes a universal measure of aging across different species.

The resulting epigenetic clock could shed light on a broad range of scientific questions, including why animals have different lifespans, how the environment influences lifespan, and potential trajectories to cancer and immune disorders as well as uncovering possible therapies for slowing the aging process.

Horvath received his B.S in mathematics and physics from the Technical University of Berlin, his Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and his Sc.D. in biostatistics from Harvard University. He became a full professor of human genetics/biostatistics at UCLA in 2009.

For more information about Horvath and his award, look here