2011 Senior Scholar Award in Aging

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2011 Senior Scholar Award in Aging

The decline of cognitive function is one of the greatest health threats for the aged population. It has been widely accepted that mainly loss of synaptic connections, rather than loss of neurons, is responsible for age-associated cognitive impairment. However the molecular mechanisms underlying...  >> MORE

2011 Senior Scholar Award in Aging

Our research into the relationship between body temperature and longevity was stimulated by two related observations in animal systems. It has been known for almost fifty years that dietary caloric restriction in many species (including primates) could extend life. In the course of those...  >> MORE

2011 Senior Scholar Award in Aging

There are many benefits to getting older including the wisdom that comes with greater life experiences. However, the ‘baggage’ that our bodies accumulate at the cellular level as we age can compromise our ability to enjoy those benefits. This lack of ‘cellular self-renewal’ is believed to be...  >> MORE

2011 Senior Scholar Award in Aging

There is a well-documented association of aging with increased incidence of diabetes and cancer, as well as reduced capacity for wound healing and tissue repair. In studies aimed at understanding how cancer genes are regulated in stem cells, we unexpectedly discovered a role for an ancient...  >> MORE

2011 Senior Scholar Award in Aging

The goal of our project is to investigate the impact of the metabolism of phosphoinositides on the neurological manifestations of aging. Phosphoinositides are low abundance membrane phospholipids that have key roles in signaling, membrane trafficking, and cytoskeletal dynamics in all cells....  >> MORE

2011 Senior Scholar Award in Aging

A key element of cellular biology is that DNA is copied into mRNA which is then made into protein through a process called translation. The production of proteins through the process of translation provides the foundation for much of cellular functioning. Translation can occur in different...  >> MORE

2011 Senior Scholar Award in Aging

Human aging incorporates multiple changes throughout the body such as slower metabolism and loss of muscle. Aging is also associated with a reduced aerobic capacity as a result of reduced lung function, poorer blood circulation, decreased cardiac output, and limited exercise capacity. These age-...  >> MORE

2011 Senior Scholar Award in Aging

Proteins must achieve their correct three-dimensional folded structure in order to carry out their cellular functions. Failure to fold its proteins can be catastrophic for cells, since misfolded proteins can aggregate into toxic amyloid species. Aging is universally associated with a decline in...  >> MORE

2011 Senior Scholar Award in Aging

The overall purpose of the work in our laboratory is to demonstrate that there is a hormonal regulation of organismal aging. This work is based on the observed effect of the bone-derived hormone osteocalcin in favoring glucose homeostasis, energy expenditure and male fertility. These three...  >> MORE

2011 Senior Scholar Award in Aging

For adult stem cell transplantation, stem cells are harvested from fat, bone marrow, or other sites and are then transplanted back into injured or diseased organs. Stem cells from a patient can be transplanted back into the same patient, reducing chances of rejection. This approach holds...  >> MORE

2011 Senior Scholar Award in Aging

The overall goal of this project will be to test our hypothesis that stimulating anabolic pathways in skeletal muscle may lead to extension of life span. Specifically, we will examine the effect of blocking the myostatin signaling pathway on longevity in mice. We discovered myostatin as a...  >> MORE

2011 Senior Scholar Award in Aging

Muscle fatigue is one of the most fundamental physiological processes. Fatigue of skeletal muscle determines the outer limits of physical activity and explains, for example, why an elite athlete who can run 100 meters in under 10 seconds cannot run 1,000 meters in 100 seconds. Severe muscle...  >> MORE

2011 Senior Scholar Award in Aging

Aging and stress, stress and aging - a pair of ominous conditions that can affect the quality of life. When events go awry, the cellular machinery senses molecular damage and compensates by induction of protective cellular stress responses. Aging, however, compromises the robustness of these...  >> MORE

2011 Senior Scholar Award in Aging

“You are only as old as your plumbing.” With that characteristically pithy remark, Sir William Osler summarized his view of the relationship between aging and diseases that affect the vascular system, the body’s plumbing. One hundred years later, vascular diseases remain a leading cause of death...  >> MORE

2011 Senior Scholar Award in Aging

A major challenge in basic research on aging is to distinguish among various potential causative influences of age-related diseases. There have been many hypothesis put forward to explain the deterioration of tissue homeostasis and regenerative capacity during aging. Age-induced accumulation of...  >> MORE

2011 Senior Scholar Award in Aging

The p53 protein is a prominent tumor suppressor, often referred to as the “guardian of the genome”. p53 is stabilized and activated in response to a variety of stress signals and, in turn, activates specific target genes through its function as a conventional transcription factor that binds to...  >> MORE

2011 Senior Scholar Award in Aging

With “normal” aging, many individuals experience a profound loss of muscle strength. The changes in muscle structure that lead to muscle weakness are the basis of the degenerative disease known as sarcopenia, which has become a major affliction for millions of people worldwide. While many...  >> MORE

2011 Senior Scholar Award in Aging

The intestine is maintained by stem cells that require a cellular neighborhood, or niche, consisting of Paneth cells. The intestine undergoes significant decline in function and regeneration with age, but it is unclear whether these age-related changes are due to direct changes in stem cells or...  >> MORE

2011 Senior Scholar Award in Aging

The overall goal of our application is to initiate a novel series of studies that demonstrate a role for the hypothalamus in regulation of aging and age-related disease. Several studies suggest that hypothalamic mechanisms regulate aspects of aging in both invertebrates and vertebrates but their...  >> MORE

2011 Senior Scholar Award in Aging

We are interested in determining the mechanisms underlying age-related declines in tissue homeostasis and repair. Following embryogenesis, most animals undergo a dramatic period of growth, during which the body, and all its component parts, increase in size and mass. On reaching adulthood, net...  >> MORE

2011 Senior Scholar Award in Aging

Diseases of the Central Nervous System (CNS) - the brain, spinal cord and retina - typically cause permanent damage due to its poor regenerative power: unlike tissues such as the skin, it does not wound-repair efficiently. Hence the discovery that the CNS contains two small regions with stem...  >> MORE

2011 Senior Scholar Award in Aging

Aging is a complex process that occurs at both cellular and organismal levels. As cells age, the ends of their chromosomes, so called telomeres, are gradually eroded. Eroded telomeres are recognized by cells as broken DNA ends, eliciting checkpoint responses and a senescence cellular state in...  >> MORE

2010 Senior Scholar Award in Aging
Epigenetic alterations are heritable changes in genome regulation, independent of mutations in DNA sequence, caused by chemical or protein composition changes to the DNA or histone proteins that organize the DNA. There is enormous interest in epigenetics, because the mammalian epigenome undergoes...  >> MORE
2010 Senior Scholar Award in Aging
The nematode C. elegans has proven to be an invaluable model organism for identifying mechanisms that influence longevity, and may be conserved across species. Recently considerable interest has been focused on how aging is influenced by the target of rapamycin (TOR) signaling pathway. TOR...  >> MORE
2010 Senior Scholar Award in Aging
Only a handful of interventions are known to extend lifespan in mammals. Among these, dietary restriction is the best established. In a recent study by Harrison and others, rapamycin was the first drug demonstrated to increase mammalian lifespan. However, all known interventions that affect aging...  >> MORE
2010 Senior Scholar Award in Aging
A specific feature of the hippocampus, a major brain region involved in learning and memory processes, is the continuous production of new neurons from neural stem cells (NSCs). Most of the newborn cells become neurons and eventually become microscopically indistinguishable from the other...  >> MORE
2010 Senior Scholar Award in Aging

Neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease (AD) and Parkinson's disease (PD) are devastating disorders for which there are no known cures. Advancing age is the major demographic risk for these diseases. Thus, as the population ages the prevalence of such diseases increase such that...  >> MORE

2010 Senior Scholar Award in Aging
It has been long held that physical activity leads to a more healthy life and to increased longevity. Many of the studies that attempt to rigorously establish this point have met with a common problem; research with humans is difficult, due to our long life span. Animal models are thus commonly...  >> MORE
2010 Senior Scholar Award in Aging
The cyanobacterium Anabaenacan carry out oxygenic photosynthesis and the fixation of nitrogen at the same time. It executes these two incompatible processes simultaneously by differentiating specialized cells for nitrogen fixation. These cells, called heterocysts, are spaced at regular...  >> MORE
2010 Senior Scholar Award in Aging

Sleep is essential for life but is a poorly understood process. Sleep is disrupted during aging and even more so in common diseases that occur during aging such as Alzheimer's disease (AD). Whether normal variations between people in the sleep-wake cycle during mid-life and during aging...  >> MORE

2010 Senior Scholar Award in Aging

Despite the importance of ageing studies, we are still lacking appropriate cell models that can mimic normal human ageing to study ageing-related human diseases. Very recently, striking similarities between physiological ageing and the premature-ageing disease Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria...  >> MORE

2010 Senior Scholar Award in Aging
Loss of muscle mass and degeneration of the fibers that make up skeletal muscle, a condition called sarcopenia, are major hallmarks of aging. Muscle loss and degeneration contribute to many other ill-effects of aging including frequent bone fractures and insulin resistance, a pre-diabetic condition...  >> MORE
2010 Senior Scholar Award in Aging
The role of mtDNA mutations in the aging process has been debatable for decades since Harmanís seminal work on mitochondria, oxidative stress and aging. Currently more than ever the field is plentiful in evidence both in favor and against an involvement of mtDNA mutations in aging, which have led...  >> MORE
2010 Senior Scholar Award in Aging
Our bodies are made up of organs, organs are made up of tissues, and tissues are made up of cells. As our body ages, not all parts deteriorate at the same pace. During degeneration of bodily function from age and disease, not all organs are affected equally, not all tissues in an organ are affected...  >> MORE
2010 Senior Scholar Award in Aging
The hallmark of multicellular life is the presence, within a single organism, of a wide array of cell types possessing the same genome but disparate cellular phenotypes. A fundamental question in biology is: what maintains the phenotypic identities of different cell types? We recently postulated a...  >> MORE
2010 Senior Scholar Award in Aging
Studies in the roundworm C. elegans have been very fruitful in uncovering the gene families that are able to influence aging in different organisms, including mammals. In addition to the genetic code itself, how the genetic materials are packaged in the cell, i.e. how the DNA is wound up by...  >> MORE
2010 Senior Scholar Award in Aging
Genomic instability has been implicated as a major cause of aging. Two of the most dynamic components of the genome are transposon--jumping genes, and telomeres--chromosome ends. Transposon silencing and telomere maintenance therefore represent two fundamental activities that ensure genomic...  >> MORE
2010 Senior Scholar Award in Aging
We have developed two new model systems that lead to significant increases in mouse maximal longevity. One uses a "Crowded Litter" (CL) approach to reduce food availability, but only in the first 3 weeks of life. The other involves genetic ablation of the gene for MIF, a pro-inflammatory cytokine...  >> MORE
2010 Senior Scholar Award in Aging
Age is one of the strongest risk factors for cancer. The likelihood of developing a tumor increases dramatically as we age. Yet, nobody knows why that is. Based on spurious observations in various organisms a number of diverse reasons have been suggested to explain aging-associated cancer formation...  >> MORE
2010 Senior Scholar Award in Aging

Could the mere perception of food availability reverse the beneficial effects of diet-restriction, a regimen whereby limitation of available nutrients robustly increases lifespan and reduces aging-related disease in many species? We had noted from previous work in the fruit fly, Drosophila...  >> MORE

2010 Senior Scholar Award in Aging
It seems self-evident that babies are born young, independent of the age of their parents. However, this process poses a challenge to anyone thinking about the biological basis of aging. How does a mother whose cells have aged for 20, 30, or 40 years produce a baby with a whole lifetime ahead of...  >> MORE
2010 Senior Scholar Award in Aging

With the support of this award we will apply two "Next Generation" approaches to the study of genetic mouse models in which specific steps of TORC1 signaling (i.e., via the mTOR/raptor complex itself or the downstream proteins 4EBP1 and S6K1) are selectively altered in key young and...  >> MORE

2010 Senior Scholar Award in Aging

It is generally agreed that sleep is essential in all complex organisms. "Essential" means that an animal fully deprived of sleep dies prematurely. Moreover, studies in people over almost fifty years indicate that both short sleep and long sleep correlate with reduced lifespan. This...  >> MORE



Dr. Davide Dulcis

University of California - San Diego

Sensory Stimulation-Dependent Neurotransmitter Respecification in the Aging Brain

2010 Senior Scholar Award in Aging
Neurons use neurotransmitters and receptors as a universal signaling system in the brain. Unfortunately dysregulation of transmitters and their receptors both in neurological disorders during adult life and in normal aging seriously compromises brain function. Dr. Spitzerís previous research on the...  >> MORE
2010 Senior Scholar Award in Aging
Age-associated cognitive decline is a steadily increasing biomedical concern in the US. According to the Administration on Aging over 12% of the United States population is age 65 and older, and by 2030 this estimate is projected to reach 20%. With the average life span increasing, understanding...  >> MORE
2010 Senior Scholar Award in Aging
This project will investigate a key paradox involving the potential role of mitochondria in aging. Historically, studies in mammals have shown that preservation of mitochondrial function and reduced generation of reactive oxygen species are correlated with increased lifespan and healthspan, i.e.,...  >> MORE
2010 Senior Scholar Award in Aging

Mechanisms that suppress the activities associated with cellular growth and proliferation, such as senescence and apoptosis, which fundamentally rely on the activities of tumor suppressor loci such as TP53 and INK4α/ARF also contribute to the deterioration in the reproductive...  >> MORE

2010 Senior Scholar Award in Aging

Organisms have evolved molecular machines to help newly synthesized proteins fold properly and also to eliminate mature proteins once they are recognized as damaged or misfolded. Many studies have shown that, as they age, cells become less efficient at recognizing and degrading damaged or...  >> MORE

2009 Senior Scholar Award in Aging

Aging remains one of biology's most confusing and contentious subjects. That is, how a trait as deleterious as senescence, with death as its implicit endpoint, could be the product of natural selection. Many biologists have taken the view that senescence reflects an inevitable process of damage...  >> MORE

2009 Senior Scholar Award in Aging
Aging is widely considered to involve a progressive loss of function of mitochondria, the cellular organelles that generate most of the energy required to sustain life. The notion that such mitochondrial dysfunction is not just a consequence, but a cause of aging is the basis of the mitochondrial...  >> MORE
2009 Senior Scholar Award in Aging

A long-standing aspect of aging is that the brain, with age, undergoes cognitive decline and perhaps degeneration. Such decline may not only underlie normal loss of brain function with age, but also contribute to or advance diseases of the nervous system, such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson'...  >> MORE

2009 Senior Scholar Award in Aging

Mitochondria are cellular organelles that use the oxygen we breathe to oxidize carbohydrates, fats and proteins. The oxygen is fully reduced to form water, and energy is released. The mitochondria capture this energy to phosphorylate ADP to ATP, a molecule that can be hydrolyzed by the cells to...  >> MORE

2009 Senior Scholar Award in Aging
The long-term objective of our laboratory is to understand the beneficial relationship between hormones and the aging process. Of particular interest is the pituitary hormone, growth hormone, and itís role in metabolism and stress resistance in aging. Our lab has helped to establish a compelling...  >> MORE
2009 Senior Scholar Award in Aging

The discovery that somatic cells can be converted into pluripotent embryonic stem cells ("reprogramming") holds great promise for tissue rejuvenation. Understanding the mechanisms of reprogramming should give important insights into the molecular basis of regeneration in long-lived...  >> MORE

2009 Senior Scholar Award in Aging

Aging is associated with widespread but subtle changes in gene expression. We and others have discovered that one of the drivers of the age-dependent gene expression programs in mammals is the stress-responsive transcription factor NF-kB. For instance, both molecular and cellular features of...  >> MORE

2009 Senior Scholar Award in Aging

The aging process is attributed to a complex combination of programmed changes in gene expression and genomic instability caused by accumulated DNA damage. The molecular mechanisms that underlie these age-associated changes have been the subject of intense research and recent studies have...  >> MORE

2009 Senior Scholar Award in Aging

The dramatic increase in human longevity observed during the 20th century can largely be attributed to improved sanitation in the first part of the century and to the introduction of antibiotics following WWII. While these changes certainly reduced the burden of pathogenic bacterial species,...  >> MORE

2009 Senior Scholar Award in Aging
New neurons are continuously produced in the adult brain and they may be important for behavior, regeneration, and response to drugs. Production of new neurons continuously declines with age and it is possible that this decline contributes to age-related cognitive impairment. We have recently...  >> MORE
2009 Senior Scholar Award in Aging
The naked mole-rat is the longest living rodent with a maximum lifespan exceeding 28 years. In addition to its longevity, the naked mole-rat has extraordinary resistance to cancer as tumors have never been observed in these rodents. The mechanism for cancer resistance in the naked mole-rat is...  >> MORE
2009 Senior Scholar Award in Aging
My laboratory is interested in understanding the molecular mechanisms by which chromatin signaling networks effect epigenetic programs to influence aging-dependent processes. Our work centers on the biology of protein lysine methylation, a principal chromatin-regulatory mechanism thought to be...  >> MORE

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