Jim Mellon donates £1 million to Oriel for aging research

Oxford University’s Longevity science given a £1 million boost by donation.

Oriel College, Oxford, is a focal point for the efforts to improve future health resilience by boosting the immunity and healthspan of aging populations.

Entrepreneur investor and Longevity grandee, Jim Mellon, has gifted £1m to support the work of Professor Lynne Cox, George Moody Fellow in Biochemistry at Oriel College and a principal investigator in the Department of Biochemistry.

Lynne Cox, Oriel College Oxford
Professor Lynne Cox, George Moody Fellow in Biochemistry at Oriel College

Professor Cox‘s lab studies the molecular basis of human aging, with the aim of reducing the morbidity and frailty associated with old age through better health and immune resilience; the funds will allow the creation, in perpetuity, of a DPhil scholarship in Ageing and Cell Senescence at Oriel College.

The donation will also promote and support interdisciplinary research into aging through collaboration between the University’s Oxford Ageing Network (OxAgeN), which is co-led by Professor Cox, and the Ageing Research Collaborative Hub (ARCH) which includes researchers from Oxford’s numerous academic divisions (including humanities, social sciences, medical sciences, mathematical, physical, engineering and life sciences).

Commenting on the gift, Neil Mendoza, Provost, Oriel College, said: “We are grateful to Jim Mellon for his generosity and continued support for the College and the University. This gift will allow us to establish Oriel as a focal point for what we believe is an essential area of research with a potential for high impact and positive returns for science and the economy.

Private philanthropy remains critical to our ability to continue to advance science in this nascent area and contribute to society.”

Jim Mellon is a former Oriel College student

Jim Mellon commented: “There has never been a more important time to address the frailty of human health. The current pandemic has highlighted the huge economic and social costs connected to the lack of immune resilience in our increasingly aging population and the need for greater scientific research into this area.”

“Boosting immunoresilience among the most vulnerable in society and advancing healthspan are critical … in the face of future pandemics …”

“Boosting immunoresilience among the most vulnerable in society and advancing healthspan are critical to helping more people reach their potential as well as, more urgently, improving our collective resilience in the face of future pandemics. Oxford’s leadership in the field of research and understanding of the ageing process makes it a natural home to advance longevity science and support the growth of the longevity industry, and I am proud to support this work,” Mellon added.

Professor Cox added: “With the incidence of chronic health conditions such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and dementia rising rapidly with age, and older people most at risk of both becoming infected with, and suffering adverse outcomes from infectious disease, the ability to support better health through the lifecourse via early intervention presents a cost-effective approach to improving national health and resilience.

This gift will significantly bolster our ability to study the process of cell ageing and advance interventions that can improve health and immune resilience.”

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