Dr. Michael Kobor appointed Edwin S.H. Leong UBC Chair in Healthy Aging (a UBC President’s Excellence Chair)
Renowned biomedical researcher Dr. Michael Kobor has been appointed to lead the Edwin S.H. Leong Healthy Aging Program. As the inaugural Edwin S.H. Leong UBC Chair in Healthy Aging – a UBC President’s Excellence Chair - Dr. Kobor will build a permanent program focused on deepening understanding of the aging process and developing innovative, practical strategies to improve how people age. The program, housed within UBC’s faculty of medicine, is supported by a visionary and transformational gift of $24-million from Hong Kong businessman, philanthropist and UBC alumnus Edwin Leong.
Dr. Kobor, a professor in UBC’s department of medical genetics, is a Canada Research Chair and world-leading expert in the field of epigenetics. His research examines how social and environmental factors “get under the skin” and become biologically embedded in our genes, influencing health and wellbeing throughout a person’s life and into older age. He will bring this “society to cell” approach to the new program to further investigate the societal and molecular underpinnings of aging and age-related diseases.
Dr. Kobor has been heavily involved in the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging, integrating epigenetic principles and analysis into the long-term national study that is following 50,000 Canadians as they age. He is also currently investigating the underpinnings of healthy aging in several of the world’s ‘blue zones’ – areas where residents live longer than average and do so in extremely good health and vigour. By revealing the connections between our environment, gene expression and health outcomes, Dr. Kobor’s work is supporting the development of interventions to address health inequities and promote healthy development and aging.
As the President’s Excellence Chair in Healthy Aging, Dr. Kobor will foster an interdisciplinary research program that brings together UBC experts from different fields, while recruiting additional faculty, trainees and research personnel and promoting new partnerships globally. Rooted in a life course approach, the program will look across the entire life span seeking the greatest opportunities to optimize longevity and quality of life.