In the past 30 years, the average age of biomedical researchers has steadily increased. To determine if this might impact innovative ideas and research, Baker Institute fellow Kirstin Matthews and Vivian Ho, along with interns Kara Calhoun and Nathan Lo, analyzed the work of Nobel Prize winners from 1980 to 2010 to assess the age at which their pioneering research occurred.

Their study, published in the online journal PLoS ONE, establishes that among scientists who were awarded Nobel Prizes in medicine or chemistry for work related to biomedicine, their groundbreaking research was conducted at an average age of 41 -- one year younger than the average age of a new investigator at the National Institutes of Health. This delayed access to NIH, the article concludes, might inhibit research potential and novel projects, and could impact biomedicine and the next generation scientists in the United States.