Perhaps the ultimate goal of medical intervention and prevention in the developed world is the extension of healthy lifespan, minimizing the maladies of aging and limiting the time during which we are incapacitated at the end of life. Scientists studying the seemingly inevitable phenomenon of aging have shown that environmental, lifestyle and genetic factors are all involved in this complex process. This new track at PMWC will probe the fundamental science of aging, the expanding arsenal of therapies to help combat the ravages of age, the costs and benefits of an extended healthy lifespan.
Genetics & Biology of Aging
George Martin, University of Washington
Anne Brunet, Stanford
Tom Rando, Stanford
Tony Wyss-Coray, Stanford
Pankaj Kapahi, Buck Institute
Gordon Lithgow, Buck Institute
Irina Conboy, UC Berkeley
Danica Chen, UC Berkeley
Evolution of Aging
Steven Austad, UAB
Vera Gorbunova, University of Rochester
Impact of Aging on Society
Barbara Koenig, UCSF
Hank Greely, Stanford
Matt Kaeberlein, University of Washington
Judith Campisi, Buck Institute
Steven Braithwaite, Alkahest, Inc
Felipe Sierra, NIH
Gerontology – Medical Aspects of Aging
John Newman, Buck Institute for Research on Aging
Meng Wang, Baylor College of Medicine
Vered Raz, Leiden University Medical Center
Andrea Maier, The University of Melbourne, Australia
Campisi has established a broad research program to understand the relationship between aging and age-related phenotypes and pathologies, with an emphasis on the interface between cancer and aging. Her laboratory made several pioneering discoveries in these areas, and her research continues to challenge and alter existing paradigms. In recognition of her accomplishments, Campisi received numerous awards, including awards from the National Institute on Aging, AlliedSignal Corporation, Gerontological Society of America and American Federation for Aging Research, the Longevity prize from the IPSEN Foundation, and the first international Olav Thon Foundation prize in Natural Sciences and Medicine. She is an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the National Academy of Science. Her current research projects include basic molecular and cell biological mechanisms of cellular senescence, aging and disease biomarker discovery and transcriptomic, proteomic and metabolomic profiling of aged and senescent cells and tissues.
Dr. Martin has led a long and productive career at the University of Washington, where he received his BS and MD degrees and has been a member of its faculty since 1957. He worked as a surgical pathologist and cytogeneticist in the UW Department of Pathology since 1957, and he served as the founding director of the Medical Scientist Training Program and the “Genetic Approaches to Aging Research” Institutional Training Grant of the National Institute on Aging. He was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and now serves as a Senior Member. Dr. Martin was a member of the National Advisory Council, the Board of Scientific Counselors of the National Institute on Aging, and the Scientific Advisory Board of the Ellison Medical Foundation. He currently serves as the Scientific Director of the American Federation for Aging Research. He was the Founding Editor-in-Chief of an AAAS/Science website for research on the biology of aging (SAGE KE). Dr. Martin is a Past President of the Tissue Culture Society of America, American Federation for Aging Research and the Gerontological Society of America. Dr. Martin’s research has for many years been concerned with the development of genetic approaches to the study of aging and age-related diseases in mammals.
Dr. Brunet obtained her B.Sc. from the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris and her Ph.D. from the University of Nice, France. She did her postdoctoral training with Dr. Michael Greenberg at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Brunet is interested in the molecular mechanisms of aging and longevity. She wants to understand the mechanism of neural stem cell aging. She also seeks to discover novel genes regulating longevity, notably developing a new short-lived vertebrate, the African killifish. Dr. Brunet has published over 80 peer-reviewed papers and reviews. She has received several awards, including the Pfizer/AFAR Innovation in Aging Research Award and the Vincent Cristofalo “Rising Star” Award in Aging Research. She received a Pioneer Award and a Transformative Award from the NIH Director's fund, which supports scientists who propose pioneering and transforming approaches to major challenges in biomedical research.
The African Killifish: A New Model to Understand Aging and 'Suspended Animation'
Dr. Rando’s research focuses on stem cell biology and the biology of aging. He has been a pioneer in the field of systemic factors as regulators of cellular aging beginning with seminal studies done in his laboratory using the technique of heterochronic parabiosis. These studies have formed the foundation of current approaches to epigenetic rejuvenation. He is a scientific founder of Fountain Therapeutics whose mission is to develop therapies for diseases of aging based these fundamental biological principles. Dr. Rando is Director of the Glenn Center for the Biology of Aging at Stanford and Deputy Director of the Stanford Center on Longevity. He has received numerous awards including the NIH Director’s Pioneer Award and the “Breakthroughs in Gerontology” Award from the American Federation for Aging Research. Dr. Rando is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
A key direction of Irina Conboy laboratory is to understand age-imposed and pathological changes in signaling networks that regulate tissue maintenance and repair and to calibrate these to healthy states.Prof. Conboy received numerous awards for her work in Aging field, including Silicon Valley Foundation Award for clinical translation of aging research, Open Philanthropy Award, Packer endowment for Aging research, Raymond and Beverly Sackler TAU Award, Calico Award, Bridging the Gap, Rogers’ Award, SENS Foundation and Life Extension Foundation, W.M. Keck Foundation Award, Glenn Award for Research in Biological Mechanisms of Aging, Stem Cell Research Foundation Award, Ellison’s Medical Foundation New Scholar in Aging award, and NIH National Research Service Award.
Restoring Health And Youth To Old Tissues
We will discuss our stem cell engineering and regenerative medicine approaches that improve understanding of the determinants of homeostatic health and enable novel rational approaches to treat a number of diseases, which range from tissue degeneration to cancer and include novel ways to avoid and diminish fibrosis and inflammation. These directions have been recently ramified with synthetic biology and innovative digital biosensors for diagnostics of age-imposed alterations and for assessing the response to treatments.
Danica Chen aims to understand the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying aging-associated conditions and elucidate which aspects of aging-associated conditions are reversible. Recent studies from her lab have revealed mitochondrial stress as a cause of stem cell exhaustion and tissue degeneration during aging. She identified mitochondrial stress resistance programs that become dysregulated in aged stem cells, and demonstrated these programs can be targeted to improve survival and regenerative capacity of aged stem cells. These findings give hope for targeting aging-associated dysregulated cellular protective programs, such as the pathways regulated by NAD+-dependent enzymes sirtuins, to reverse stem cell aging, tissue degeneration and dysfunction. Dr. Chen received Ph.D. in molecular and cell biology from University of California at Berkeley and obtained postdoctoral training in biology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She was a Searle Scholar, an Ellison Scholar, a Kavli Fellow, and a Hellman Fellow.
Mitochondrial Metabolic Checkpoint, Stem Cell Aging and Rejuvenation
I will discuss a mitochondrial metabolic checkpoint that is critical in regulating stem cell maintenance and becomes dysregulated during aging, and demonstrate that the mitochondrial metabolic checkpoint can be targeted to reverse stem cell aging and tissue degeneration.
Steven N Austad's early research was field-based. He has done field research in several parts of the United States, Venezuela, East Africa, Micronesia, and Papua New Guinea. Once he became interested in the biology of aging, his research became more laboratory oriented. Perhaps because of his background in English, he has always been eager to communicate the excitement of science to the public at large. In that capacity, he haswritten popular books, planned museum exhibits, and produced a regular newspaper column on science.
Vera Gorbunova’s research is focused on understanding the mechanisms of longevity and genome stability and on the studies of exceptionally long-lived mammals. Dr. Gorbunova pioneered comparative biology approach to study aging and identified rules that control evolution of tumor suppressor mechanisms depending on the species lifespan and body mass. Dr. Gorbunova also investigates the role of Sirtuin proteins in maintaining genome stability. More recently the focus of her research has been on the longest-lived rodent species the naked mole rats and the blind mole rat. Her work received awards of from the Ellison Medical Foundation, the Glenn Foundation, American Federation for Aging Research, and from the National Institutes of Health. Her work was awarded the Cozzarelli Prize from PNAS, prize for research on aging from ADPS/Alianz, France, Prince Hitachi Prize in Comparative Oncology, Japan, and Davey prize from Wilmot Cancer Center.
Prof. Koenig pioneered the use of empirical methods in the study of ethical questions in science, medicine, and health. She has long-standing interests in palliative care and technology use near the end of life. In San Francisco in the early 1980s, she was one of the first anthropologists to work on the then emerging epidemic of HIV/AIDS, focusing on the impact of the disease on clinicians’ care for dying patients. Koenig also led the first NIH-funded study of the dynamics of end-of-life decision making and patient choice in a public hospital cancer clinic serving patients from varied ethno-cultural backgrounds; her work revealed the limitations of traditional bioethics practices in a diverse society. Koenig’s research led to her being named a Soros Faculty Scholar in the Open Society Institute’s “Project on Death in America.” With the passage of California’s physician aid-in-dying legislation, she convened a state-wide conference to bring together the law’s opponents and proponents to reflect on implementation challenges.
Henry T. (Hank) Greely is the Deane F. and Kate Edelman Johnson Professor of Law and Professor, by courtesy, of Genetics at Stanford University. He specializes in ethical, legal, and social issues arising from advances in the biosciences. He directs the Stanford Center for Law and the Biosciences; chairs the California Advisory Committee on Human Stem Cell Research; serves on the NIH BRAIN Initiative’s Multi-Council Working Group, whose Neuroethics Group he co-chairs; and just ended a term as President of the International Neuroethics Society. His book, THE END OF SEX AND THE FUTURE OF HUMAN REPRODUCTION, was published in May 2016. Professor Greely graduated from Stanford in 1974 and from Yale Law School in 1977. He joined the Stanford faculty in 1985.
Dr. Kaeberlein’s research interests are focused on biological mechanisms of aging in order to facilitate translational interventions that promote healthspan and improve quality of life. He has published more than 200 scientific papers, has been recognized by several prestigious awards, and has Fellow status in the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Aging Association, and the Gerontological Society of America (GSA). Dr. Kaeberlein is currently the CEO of the American Aging Association and has served on the Board of Directors for the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), AGE, and GSA. Dr. Kaeberlein is the founding Director of the UW Healthy Aging and Longevity Research Institute, the Director of the UW Nathan Shock Center of Excellence in the Basic Biology of Aging, Director of the Biological Mechanisms of Healthy Aging Training Program, and founder and co-Director of the Dog Aging Project.
Functional Rejuvenation By mTOR Inhibition: New Insights Into Mechanism And Clinical Utility
The mTOR inhibitor rapamycin is currently the most effective and reproducible pharmacological approach to extending lifespan in animals. Several groups have independently shown that short-term treatment with rapamycin in mice can rejuvenate functional measures of health in various organs and tissues including brain, heart, kidney, muscle, intestine, ovary, and the immune system. We have recently shown that eight weeks of rapamycin treatment is sufficient to reverse multiple clinically relevant features of periodontal disease and improve oral health in mice. Here I will discuss additional insights into potential mechanisms of action for rapamycin, its relationship to senolytics, and opportunities for clinical evaluation of mTOR inhibitors to reverse phenotypes of aging.
Steven is Chief Scientific Officer of Alkahest, developing therapeutic products for patients with age related health conditions. He also holds the position of Adjunct Associate Professor of Neurology at Rutgers University. He founded MentiNova Inc and previously led research at Circuit Therapeutics, drug discovery at Signum Biosciences, headed the cellular neurodegeneration group at Wyeth Research/Pfizer, and was a program leader at AGY Therapeutics. In these roles he has led research and development programs through multiple therapeutic modalities across a diverse range of indications in the field of neuroscience. Dr Braithwaite is a graduate of the University of Cambridge, UK, received his PhD from the University of Bristol, UK and performed postdoctoral work at Stanford University, he has published extensively in the fields of basic neuroscience research, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
Dr. Kapahi received his PhD from the University of Manchester, where he worked with Tom Kirkwood. He did his postdoctoral work with Seymour Benzer at Caltech and Michael Karin at University of California, San Diego. He joined the Buck Institute as an assistant professor in 2004. Dr. Kapahi has published more than 80 scientific papers and holds three current patents. He has been recognized for his scientific excellence with many awards, including the Eureka Award from the National Institute on Aging, a New Scholar Award from the Ellison Medical Foundation, a Glenn Award for Research in Biological Mechanisms of Aging, the Nathan Shock Young Investigator Award, and the Breakthrough in Gerontology and Julie Martin Mid-career awards from AFAR. He currently serves on the editorial board of Aging Cell, Aging, and PLOS Genetics. Dr. Kapahi also initiated the first master’s degree course in gerontology at the Buck Institute.
Felipe Sierra, PhD. is interested in promoting geroscience as an approach to prevent or delay all chronic diseases affecting the elderly. In addition, he is involved in developing a large NIH project on Cellular Senescence and Senolytics. He was trained as a biochemist in his native Chile and obtained a PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Florida. He has worked in Switzerland, the US, and Chile, in active research spanning academia, industry and government. In 2002, Dr. Sierra joined the Federal workforce at the NIH, and in 2006 he became Director of the Division of Aging Biology, NIA. Dr. Sierra is also the founder of the trans-NIH Geroscience Interest Group (GSIG), seeking to promote research on the geroscience hypothesis. He is currently a contractor as a Senior Advisor at NIA, as well as co-Director of the Inspire Program in Toulouse, France.
Geroscience: Let’s Focus On Health, Not Disease
Aging is at the core of our risk of developing chronic diseases. The new field of geroscience proposes that by addressing the basic biology of aging – rather than specific diseases – we will reap better results in terms of health.
A native of Scotland, Dr. Lithgow received his PhD from the University of Glasgow and obtained further training at Ciba Geigy AG in Basel, Switzerland, and at the University of Colorado. He established his lab studying the biology of aging at the University of Manchester, England, before moving it to the Buck Institute in 2000. Dr. Lithgow has been recognized for his research with a Glenn Award for Research in Biological Mechanisms of Aging, a senior scholarship from the Ellison Medical Foundation, and the Tenovus Award for Biomedical Research. He has served on many national advisory panels in both the United Kingdom and the United States, including the National Institute on Aging’s Board of Scientific Councilors, and has served as the chair of biological sciences at the Gerontology Society of America. Dr. Lithgow has partnered with a series of biotechnology companies in sponsored research agreements and has strong collaborations in preclinical aging research on diseases such as osteoporosis and Parkinson’s disease.
Vered Raz’s research explores molecular mechanisms regulating muscle degeneration in aging and adult-onset myopathies, with the long-term goal that this knowledge could lead to specific therapies for these conditions. The group investigates the role of mRNA processing in aging muscles combining molecular genetics with different omics approaches and molecular networks. Raz graduated at the Weizmann Institute of Science with numerous awards, among the distinguished the Israeli president award. She conducted research in three countries, and settled in the Netherlands where she is a staff member at the Human Genetics department, Leiden University Medical Centre.
The Role Of mRNA Processing In Muscle Aging
PABPN1 is a key regulator of mRNA processing. An aging-associated reduction in PABPN1 levels causes muscle wasting. Using omic research approaches the mechanisms that are predominantly affected by PABPN1 are elucidated with the focus to target molecules to therapeutic developments.
Dr. Wang’s research focuses on the molecular mechanisms governing organism longevity, reproductive fitness and lipid metabolism through harnessing the power of functional genomics, metabolomics, chemical engineering and optical biophysics. Her group discovers novel pro-longevity signaling pathways, delivers new nutraceutical targets for healthy aging, and drives technological development to investigate lipid dynamics as a function of time and space. Wang is the recipient of NIH Director’s Pioneer Award, Peter O’Donnell Award, Gibco Emerging Leader Prize and Early Career Life Scientist Award from the American Society for Cell Biology, and Glenn Award for Research in Biological Mechanism of Aging. In 2019, she was elected as a Fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science. Wang received a B.S. in biochemistry and molecular biology from Peking University in 2001 and a Ph.D. in biomedical genetics from University of Rochester in 2005 and completed her postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School/Massachusetts General Hospital.
Healthy Metabolism, Healthy Aging
Metabolism is fundamental to life, generating thousands of metabolites that are structural blocks, energy resources and also signaling factors. We study the novel role of metabolites in orchestrating cellular homeostasis, coordinating microbe-host communication and promoting longevity and healthy aging.
Dr. Newman is a geriatrician physician-scientist who seeks to translate our expanding understanding of aging biology to improve the care and help maintain the independence of older adults. Dr. Newman's research at the Buck Institute studies the molecular details of how diet and fasting regulate the genes and pathways that in turn control aging, focusing on the ketone body beta-hydroxybutyrate and how its molecular signaling activities involving epigenetics and inflammation affect dementia and delirium in the aging brain. Dr. Newman is also a geriatrician who cares for hospitalized older adults at UCSF and the San Francisco VA Medical Center, focusing on preserving mobility and preventing delirium. He completed an MD/PhD at the University of Washington, then residency and fellowship training at UCSF. He is an NIA Beeson Scholar.
Precision Geriatric Medicine
Precision medicine for older adults requires providing the right care at the right time that is right for the person. It spans dimensions from the molecular to the social, aligned with goals and informed by the biology of aging.
Prof. Andrea Maier graduated in Medicine at the Medical University Lübeck (Germany, 2003), registered as specialist Internal Medicine-Geriatrics (The Netherlands, 2009) and was appointed full Professor of Gerontology at the VU University Amsterdam (The Netherlands) in 2013. Since February 2016 she is Divisional Director of Medicine and Community Care at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and Professor of Medicine and Aged Care at the University of Melbourne (Australia) responsible for the daily management of non-surgical hospital and community services, and implementation of novel and (cost)-effective health care models. Her research is driven to unravel ageing mechanisms and the interaction of ageing and age-related diseases. During the last 10 years she conducted multiple European observational studies as well as clinical trials (competitive research income 19 Mio AUS$) and published more than 240 peer reviewed articles (H index 44) with her innovative, global, multidisciplinary @Age research group. She is a frequent guest in radio and television programs to disseminate ageing research and an invited member of several international academic and health policy committees (e.g. WHO).
Restoring Health After An Acute Event
Restoring health after an acute event is of major importance for health and lifespan. Physical, cognitive and biological determinants of resilience will be presented being essential to restore health.