WASHINGTON — The National Academy of Medicine (NAM), together with eight global collaborators representing over 50 countries and territories, today announced the awardees of the 2023 Healthy Longevity Catalyst Awards. These awards are part of the NAM’s Healthy Longevity Global Competition, focused on helping accelerate research and entrepreneurism to foster potential breakthroughs in healthy longevity. This multiyear, multi-phase international competition is designed with the aim to help advance bold, novel ideas with the potential to dramatically improve health as people age. The Global Competition consists of three progressive phases during which innovators have the opportunity to compete for increasingly larger awards at the Catalyst, Accelerator, and Grand Prize levels—the latter up to $5 million.
In the 2023 cycle of the Catalyst Awards, innovators around the world submitted more than 1,100 applications. The Catalyst Phase calls on teams and individuals from any background — from science, medicine, and health to technology, finance, social sciences, and beyond — to submit innovative ideas with the goal of extending the human healthspan. Applications are judged primarily on novelty and innovation.
The NAM founded the competition and coordinates among a network of global collaborators, each administering a competition in their respective country or region. In parallel, the NAM also administers a U.S.-based Catalyst Award competition, for which over 500 innovators submitted applications in 2023. The following 20 submissions received Catalyst Awards from the NAM (principal investigators for each are listed). Each awardee will receive $50,000 USD as seed funding to help advance their ideas:
- Brain stimulation targeting shared networks to improve physical and cognitive functions in older adults
On-Yee Lo, Assistant Scientist II, Marcus Institute for Aging Research, Hebrew SeniorLife
- Cataract screening for elderly nursing home residents using smartphones and artificial intelligence
Nakul Shekhawat, Assistant Professor, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
- Voice-first, multimodal interface for post-treatment geriatric assessment and tailored digital health promotion education for older adults with cancer
Kristen Fessele, Nurse Scientist, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
- Dawn-to-Dusk Dry Fasting for Rapid Reversal of Aging
Ayse Leyla Mindikoglu, Associate Professor of Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine
- Development of next-generation antibiotic adjuvants to enhance antibiotic efficacy and improve infection outcomes
David Kitzenberg, Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Primer Pharmaceuticals Corp
- Digital Solutions to Reduce Maternal Morbidity and Mortality in Refugee Women
Gunisha Kaur, Associate Professor of Anesthesiology, Director, Human Rights Impact Lab, Medical Director, Weill Cornell Center for Human Rights, Weill Cornell Medicine
- Enhancing Health Longevity of Individuals with Limited Mobility
Sungmee Park, Principal Research Scientist, Georgia Institute of Technology
- HyperReact: Game-Changing Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technology
Clifford Bowers, Professor, University of Florida
- Leveraging Genetic Determinants of Age-Retained Brown Fat to Identify Novel Therapeutic Targets for Cardiometabolic Disease
Paul Cohen, Associate Professor, The Rockefeller University
- The Liver Protects Against Aging-Related Dementia
Sui Seng Tee, Assistant Professor, University of Maryland School of Medicine
- Mitochondria plaques as a novel therapeutic target for Alzheimer’s Disease
Xiuli Dan, Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Minnesota
- The Human Element: A Gesture-Powered Software Platform of Neurologic Music Therapy-Based Games and Puzzles: To Stimulate Neuroplasticity And Prolong Functional Independence in Individuals with Alzheimer’s Disease
John Cowart, Chief Executive Officer, Outlier Technology, LLC
- Improving access and outcomes of cataract surgery globally
Kunal Parikh, Research Associate, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
- Developing therapeutic agents reverse ageing and metabolic decline
Cary Depel, Chairman, Magnaetus Therapeutics
- Reducing “Inflammaging” for Healthy Aging
Prashant Nagpal, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer, Sachi Bioworks Inc.
- Reimagining Product Regulation by Quantifying the Economic Externalities of Commercial Influences on Health Behaviors
Sara Singer, Professor of Medicine and, by courtesy, Organizational Behavior Stanford University School of Medicine and Graduate School of Business
- Restoring mitochondrial function using viral gene reconstitution therapy in aged muscle and heart
Olga Bielska, Scientist, Buck Institute for Research on Aging
- Sound Asleep
Maggie Li, Medical Student, Carle Illinois College of Medicine
- Using Methioninase as a methionine restriction mimetic to delay aging and age-dependent diseases
Andrey Parkhitko, Assistant Professor, Aging Institute, University of Pittsburgh
- A Wearable Ultrasound Sensor for Continuous Blood Pressure Tracking
Shu Xiang, President, Softsonics LLC
“I am thrilled that the NAM and its global partners will support more than 100 Healthy Longevity Catalyst Awardees in 2023. These prizes will enable a truly diverse set of winners from across disciplines—scientists, clinicians, researchers, industry professionals, and others—to explore bold, novel ideas and approaches with the aim of improving health as we age,” said National Academy of Medicine President Victor J. Dzau. “To date, we have issued nearly $30 million in awards via the NAM’s Healthy Longevity Global Competition. We look forward to continuing our efforts aimed at expanding investment and entrepreneurism to attract even more innovators and ultimately, realize breakthroughs in the field of healthy longevity.”
Other organizations that issued Catalyst Awards today include Academia Sinica; Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences; Research Grants Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China; EIT Health; Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development; Singapore Ministry of Health and National Research Foundation; National Agency for Research and Development of Chile; and UK Research and Innovation. As part of the competition’s commitment to share knowledge and stimulate an entire field by not only rewarding innovative ideas but also sharing those ideas with the world, summaries of all awarded ideas are available at www.healthylongevitychallenge.org.
As Catalyst Awardees and finalists make progress on their work, they become eligible for support in the second phase of the competition, the Accelerator Phase. The three global Accelerator sponsors — Johnson and Johnson Innovation LLC, Eisai, Co., the kENUP Foundation on behalf of the European Investment Bank, and Primetime Partners — all lead their own award process.
All 2023 awardees will be invited to attend the annual, virtual Innovator Summit in fall 2024 to share their work with policymakers, researchers, potential investors, and fellow innovators from around the world. The next cycle of the Catalyst Phase opens in January 2024, and applications will be accepted for approximately six weeks. After a multistep review process, awardees will be announced in fall of 2024.
The final phase of the global competition, the Grand Prize, will award one or more prizes of up to $5 million USD for a breakthrough innovation aiming to extend healthspan. Learn more about the NAM’s Global Grand Challenge Competition here.
The Healthy Longevity Global Competition has received support from Johnson & Johnson Innovation LLC; John and Valerie Rowe; Martine Rothblatt and United Therapeutics Corp.; Anthony J. Yun and Kimberly A. Bazar as well as the Yun Family Foundation; the John A. Hartford Foundation; and the Bia-Echo Foundation, in addition to commitments from the global collaborator (Catalyst Phase) and Accelerator Phase sponsor organizations.
The National Academy of Medicine, established in 1970 as the Institute of Medicine, is an independent organization of eminent professionals from diverse fields including health and medicine; the natural, social, and behavioral sciences; and beyond. It serves alongside the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering as an adviser to the nation and the international community. Through its domestic and global initiatives, the NAM works to address critical issues in health, medicine, and related policy and inspire positive action across sectors. The NAM collaborates closely with its peer academies and other divisions within the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.