Felipe Sierra, PhD. is the Director of the Division of Aging Biology at the National Institute on Aging, NIH. Trained as a biochemist in his native Chile, he obtained a PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Florida in 1983. After a postdoc at the University of Geneva, he worked in industry (at Nestlé, still in Switzerland) for the next 5 years. At this stage he developed his interest in the biology of aging, an interest that brought him back to Academia (and to the United States), as an Assistant Professor at the Medical College of Pennsylvania, and later as an Associate Professor at the Lankenau Institute for Medical Research in Pennsylvania. This last position was shared with a primary appointment at the University of Chile in Santiago. Four years after initiating this arrangement, Dr. Sierra relocated again to the US, this time as a Program Director within the Division of Aging Biology, NIA. He became the Director of this unit in April 2006.
Dr. Sierra is also the founder and coordinator of the trans-NIH Geroscience Interest Group (GSIG). The group spans the entire NIH, and is built on the fact that aging is the major risk factor for most chronic age-related diseases – Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and more – and thus understanding the basic biology of aging is central to our ability to address these diseases. In 2013 and 2014 he received NIH Director’s Awards for this effort.