Our Team

 
 
Director, Okinawa Research Center for Longevity Science  Principal Investigator, Okinawa Centenarian Study  Professor Emeritus, Faculty of Medicine, University of the Ryukyus

Director, Okinawa Research Center for Longevity Science

Principal Investigator, Okinawa Centenarian Study

Professor Emeritus, Faculty of Medicine, University of the Ryukyus

makoto suzuki

Makoto Suzuki MD, PhD is a clinical cardiologist and geriatrician. He is Professor Emeritus at the University of the Ryukyus. From 1976 to 1999, he served as the Director of the Department of the Community Medical Service in the Ryukyu University Hospital and was the Chief Director of the Comprehensive Medicine Research Center at the University of the Ryukyus. In 2005, he retired from his position as Professor in the Department of Human Welfare at Okinawa International University. Currently, he directs the Okinawa Research Center for Longevity Science and is the Principle Investigator of the Okinawa Centenarian Study.

In 1976, Dr. Suzuki started the Living Centenarian Study supported by funding from the Japan Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. He has visited local residences, mostly homes, for nearly 1,000 centenarians and thousands of younger elders in their seventies, eighties, and nineties. He has clinically examined each individual directly with his own naked eyes.

Dr. Suzuki has over 300 scientific publications in peer-reviewed journals and his total publications number over 700 including scientific manuscripts, conference proceedings, books such as “The Centenarians,” “The Centenarians Science,” “Japanese Centenarians,” and book chapters in an aging and health, especially centenarians research. In 1981, he organized the International 100 Club in Hamburg, Germany. This became the first international multidisciplinary cooperative research group of centenarians. As the first scientist to make a comprehensive study of Okinawan longevity, he organized a conference in 1995 in which the Director of the World Health Organization supported the proclamation of Okinawa as a World Longevity Region.

In 1998, Dr. Suzuki was presented with the Nishinippon News Award to recognize his lifetime contributions to health and wellbeing in Japan.  
 

Co-Principal Investigator, Okinawa Centenarian Study  Chair and Professor of Public Health and Gerontology, Department of Human Welfare, Okinawa International University  Adjunct Professor of Geriatric Medicine, John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawai‘i at Manoa  Fellow, The Gerontological Society of America

Co-Principal Investigator, Okinawa Centenarian Study

Chair and Professor of Public Health and Gerontology, Department of Human Welfare, Okinawa International University

Adjunct Professor of Geriatric Medicine, John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawai‘i at Manoa

Fellow, The Gerontological Society of America

D. Craig Willcox

Craig Willcox PhD, MHSc, FGSA has been studying genetic and lifestyle factors associated with healthy aging and longevity for over two decades and has successfully established numerous cross-national research collaborations through the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute on Aging and projects supported by national funding agencies in Japan, such as the Japan Society for Promotion of Sciences, among other sources. He currently serves as Co-Principal Investigator of the Okinawa Centenarian Study and Head of the Okinawa Research Center for Longevity Science R&D, as well as a co-investigator or consultant for several ancillary R-01 funded studies of aging from the Kuakini Honolulu Heart Program. These include the Kuakini Hawaii LIFESPAN and HEALTHSPAN Studies.

Dr. Willcox is a fluent speaker of Japanese and has extensive research experience in bio-cultural approaches to healthy aging including, anthropological, epidemiological, and nutritional, with further experience in human population genetics and the study of gene-environment interactions. The team that he manages in Okinawa has over 40 years of experience in geriatrics and gerontology research and his team in Hawaii recently celebrated a half century since the inception of the Honolulu Heart Program and has been a leader in establishing the field of genetic epidemiology. His team in Okinawa reported the first longevity-associated gene variants in humans (Takata et al., Lancet 1987 PMID: 2889033) and his team in Hawaii discovered that the human homolog (FOXO3) of the nematode daf-16 gene also strongly impacts human longevity (Willcox et al., PNAS, 2008 PMID: 18765803).

Dr. Willcox has also been an invited participant at numerous international meetings that have focused upon identifying priorities in aging research such as the FUTURAGE workshop (Roadmap for Aging Research in the EU), and contributes as Associate Editor to numerous journals devoted to research on aging, such as Journals of Gerontology: Biological and Medical Sciences, GerontologyBMC Geriatrics, Rejuvenation ResearchJournal of Cross Cultural GerontologyNutrition and Aging, and the recently established Nature partner journal npj Mechanisms of Aging and Disease, among others. Recently, he guest edited a special issue on centenarian studies and their contribution to our understanding of the aging process and longevity that was published in Current Gerontology and Geriatrics Research.  He has several nominations for Who's Who in Healthcare and Medicine in the past few years and co-authored two best-selling books (The Okinawa Program and The Okinawa Diet Plan) on healthy aging that translate his research findings into practical public health programs. The Okinawa Program was nominated for “Best Wellness Book of the Year” by “Books for a Better Life” and received further honors from both Amazon.com and Barnes and Nobles as one of their Top Fifty Books of the Year for 2001. He also consults regularly for industry, having recently consulted for Chanel, VHI Healthcare (largest private health provider in Ireland), Amway (Nutrilite) and other well-known leaders in product development that promotes healthy aging. His work has appeared in cover articles of National Geographic, Newsweek, Time Magazine, and on Oprah, CNN, MSNBC, Good Morning America, NOVA Science, BBC, among other media.
 

Co-Principal Investigator, Okinawa Centenarian Study  Principal Investigator, Hawaii LIFESPAN and HEALTHSPAN Studies, Honolulu Heart Program  Professor and Director of Research, Department of Geriatric Medicine, John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawai‘i at Manoa  Fellow, The Gerontological Society of America

Co-Principal Investigator, Okinawa Centenarian Study

Principal Investigator, Hawaii LIFESPAN and HEALTHSPAN Studies, Honolulu Heart Program

Professor and Director of Research, Department of Geriatric Medicine, John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawai‘i at Manoa

Fellow, The Gerontological Society of America

bradley willcox

Bradley Willcox MD, MSc, FGSA is an internationally recognized expert in healthy aging with training in geriatrics and gerontology.

Dr. Willcox trained in Medicine at the University of Toronto, Internal Medicine at the Mayo Clinic, and Geriatric Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He is Principal Investigator of the National Institute on Aging-funded Hawaii LIFESPAN and HEALTHSPAN Studies and a Honolulu Heart Program researcher at Kuakini Medical Center. Dr. Willcox is also Co-Principal Investigator of the Okinawa Centenarian Study and a researcher at the Pacific Health Research and Education Institute of the VA Pacific Islands Health Care System in Honolulu.

Dr. Willcox has published widely in the genetic, environmental and clinical aspects of healthy aging, is on the Editorial Board of the Journals of Gerontology, and a frequent reviewer for the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society and the Journal of the American Medical Association. He has been recognized with the Dorothy Dillon Eweson Award for Advances in Aging Research, the Henry Christian Award from the American Federation for Medical Research, and a Director's Citation from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. He is a fellow of the Gerontological Society of America and serves as a Member of Scientific Advisory Board - Epidemiology/Prevention at Cardax Pharmaceuticals, Inc. With his identical twin brother, Dr. Craig Willcox, Dr. Bradley Willcox is also a co-author of a NY Times best-selling book on healthy aging and his work has appeared in cover articles of Time Magazine, National Geographic, and on Oprah, Good Morning America, NOVA Science, BBC, among other media.

Research Consultant, ORCLS  Associate Professor, Institute for Biogenesis Research, Department of Anatomy and Reproductive Biology, John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawai‘i at Manoa

Research Consultant, ORCLS

Associate Professor, Institute for Biogenesis Research, Department of Anatomy and Reproductive Biology, John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawai‘i at Manoa

Richard allsopp

Richard Allsopp PhD is a pioneer in the field of biogenesis through his research on telomere and stem cell biology.

Dr. Allsopp received his PhD from McMaster University, Hamilton Ontario Canada.   Subsequently, he spent five years training in the prestigious stem cell lab of Dr. Irving Weissman at Stanford University, before joining the University of Hawai‘i as faculty in 2003.

Dr. Allsopp's major research focus is the cellular and molecular mechanisms of aging.  In particular, he has long been interested in telomere-induced senescence, factors which regulate telomerase in stem cells, and on developing novel telomerase-based therapies to treat age-related diseases.  Of note, Dr. Allsopp’s lab was the first to discover the essential role of Hif1 on telomerase expression in embryonic stem cells.  He is also interested in studying age-dependent changes in stem cell populations in adult organisms, including humans.  He has over 10 years experience in studying and isolating hematopoietic stem cells and 20 years experience in studying telomere & telomerase biology.  Recently, he has shown that adipose derived stem cells are particularly useful in treating infarcts in a human-to-rodent model system.

Research Consultant, ORCLS  Fulbright Fellow, Okinawa International University  MD Candidate at Harvard Medical School

Research Consultant, ORCLS

Fulbright Fellow, Okinawa International University

MD Candidate at Harvard Medical School

Jordan kondo

Jordan Kondo BS is a current medical student at Harvard University.

Jordan received his BS in Human Biology from the University of Southern California. He first became interested in longevity while studying caloric restriction and the Mediterranean lifestyle in Genoa, Italy during a college study abroad course. Following graduation, he was awarded a Fulbright Research Scholarship and joined the Okinawa Research Center for Longevity Sciences in 2017. In Okinawa, he completed a research program at Okinawa International University under the supervision of Dr. D. Craig Willcox.

As a Japanese-American, born and raised in Hawai‘i, multiple generations of his family have participated in the Kuakini Honolulu Heart program, another healthy aging study closely associated with the Okinawa Centenarian study. As a future physician, Jordan endeavors to work toward extending the human “healthspan,” the healthy part of life.

STAFF

Junko Yafuso

Naruyo Yoshimoto

Senya Kadena

Kazumi Kinjo

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