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The Cellular Senescent Network (SenNet) Program at Yale

What is cellular senescence?

The state when cells can no longer divide, a permanent condition that can be beneficial and detrimental to the organism where the cells live. Senescent cells are involved in normal biological processes and chronic diseases associated with aging, including cancer and neurodegeneration.

What is SenNet?

An NIH Common Fund supported national effort to study cellular senescence – including $125 million through 20 grants over five years to identify biomarkers of senescent cells in humans and mice and construct high-resolution, detailed maps of cellular senescence across the lifespan and physiological states. Data will be shared publicly to accelerate understanding of the aging process and the development of therapeutics.

What is Yale’s SenNet program?

The SenNet Program at Yale includes the Yale Human Tissue Mapping Center for Cellular Senescence in Lymphoid Organs and the Yale-Murine Tissue Mapping Center. The central goal of the SenNet program is to map senescent cells in humans, and studies in mice will enable researchers to ask questions about environmental factors, preventative strategies, and pre-clinical issues related to senescence.

The Yale Human Tissue Mapping Center was awarded a $6.5 million grant to help generate multiscale molecular and cellular maps of cellular senescence in primary and secondary human lymphoid organs to improve our understanding of cellular senescence in development, aging, and disease, including cancer. Co-principal investigators are Rong Fan, PhD, Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Pathology, and Stephanie Halene, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine (Hematology) and Chief of Hematology at Yale Cancer Center and Smilow Cancer Hospital. 

The Yale-Murine SenNet Center was awarded an $11 million grant to use high-throughput, high-resolution single-cell and spatial omics technologies to characterize senescent cell heterogeneity with special emphasis on the immune cells in various tissues. This data resource will advance the understanding of senescent cells, their biomarkers and mechanism of aging. Co-principal investigators are Vishwa Deep Dixit, DVM, PhD, the Waldemar Von Zedtwitz Professor of Pathology and of Immunology, and Ruth Montgomery, PhD, Professor of Medicine and of Epidemiology (Microbial Diseases). 

Comprehensive Underrepresented Summer Internship Program (CUSP) Summer Internships for Underrepresented Trainees

The National Institute of Health’s Cellular Senescence Network (SenNet) announces the opening of applications for the 2024 Comprehensive Underrepresented Summer Internship Program (CUSP), a training opportunity for undergraduate students from populations historically underrepresented in science. These trainees will learn the latest senescence research and technologies in SenNet host labs and participate in the annual SenNet meeting as a valuable career development and networking opportunity. Overall, the National Institute on Aging is optimistic about the future of SenNet, not only for its potential to advance human health research, but also for the opportunities the program can offer to early-career scientists interested in this promising field. For more information on CUSP, please visit the SenNet CUSP page. Applications open November 15, 2023 and close January 25, 2024 and can be found on SenNet's CUSP application page.

Yale SenNet Center – Team Members