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Phone: 510-450-7625


Dr. Ames is a Senior Scientist at Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI), director of their Nutrition & Metabolism Center, and a Professor emeritus of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of California, Berkeley.

He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and he was on their Commission on Life Sciences. He was a member of the board of directors of the National Cancer Institute, the National Cancer Advisory Board, from 1976 to 1982. He was the recipient of the General Motors Cancer Research Foundation Prize (1983), the Tyler Environmental Prize (1985), the Gold Medal Award of the American Institute of Chemists (1991), the Glenn Foundation Award of the Gerontological Society of America (1992), the Lovelace Institutes Award for Excellence in Environmental Health Research (1995), the Honda Prize of the Honda Foundation, Japan (1996), the Japan Prize, (1997), the Kehoe Award, American College of Occup. and Environ. Med. (1997), the Medal of the City of Paris (1998), the U.S. National Medal of Science (1998), The Linus Pauling Institute Prize for Health Research (2001), and the American Society for Microbiology Lifetime Achievement Award (2001).

His over 550 publications have resulted in his being among the few hundred most-cited scientists (in all fields).

The Laboratory of Bruce Ames, PhD

The Nutrition and Metabolism group at Children’s Hospital of Oakland Research Institute under the direction of U.S. National Medal of Science recipient, Prof. Bruce N. Ames, is clarifying the mechanisms, and proposing solutions, by which poor nutrition accelerates the degenerative diseases of aging with their huge attendant medical costs.  Ames posited, and has buttressed, “triage theory” (1,2): metabolism responds to moderate deficiency of an essential vitamin or mineral (V/M) so that the scarce V/M is preferentially retained by V/M-dependent proteins necessary for short-term survival and reproduction. In contrast, proteins needed for long term health, which he terms “longevity proteins” because they defend against the diseases associated with aging, lose the V/M and are disabled. Most of the world’s population, including that of the U.S., are moderately deficient in one or more of the ~30 essential V/Ms. Moreover, since the damage from moderate deficiency is insidious, its importance for long-term health is not being appreciated. Strong support for triage theory comes from Dr. Joyce McCann’s analyses of the literature on proteins dependent on vitamin K (3) and on selenium (4). Both have built into metabolism this trade-off between short-term survival and long-term health and each uses a different mechanism to accomplish this end. Theory and evidence suggest that this metabolic trade-off accelerates aging-associated diseases, such as cancer, cognitive decline, and cardiovascular disease.

Longevity proteins, about half of those studied, indicate a mechanism that could be used for prevention by assaying insidious damage and suggests an undiscovered class of longevity V/Ms exist. Dr. Jung Suh has discovered a putative longevity vitamin and characterized its ability to prevent a particular type of oxidative damage and is connecting shortage to important diseases of aging.

The Choribar, a V/M-dense, low-calorie, high-fiber, fruit/chocolate-based, nutrition bar, markedly improves metabolism in many human trials (5) and could improve metabolism in those with poor diets and help them transition to better diets.


  1. Ames, B (2006) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sciences, U.S.A., 103:17589-94.
  2. Ames, BN (2010) J Nucleic Acids. doi:10.4061/2010/725071.
  3. McCann JC and Ames BN (2009) Am J Clin Nutr. 90: 889-907.doi:  10.3945/ajcn.2009.27930.
  4. McCann JC and Ames BN (2011) FASEB J. doi:10.1096/fj.11-180885.
  5. Mietus-Snyder, et al. (2012) FASEB J. published online: doi:10.1096/fj.11201558. 

Revised: Thursday, April 16, 2020 2:27 PM



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