February 26, 2002

Advances in Aging Research Featured At UCSD’s Stein Institute Open House

Research on health issues associated with aging will be presented in lectures and poster displays at the annual Spring Open House of UCSD’s Sam and Rose Stein Institute for Research on Aging (SIRA), a free public program from 3-6 p.m. Tuesday, April 16 in the Garren Auditorium, Basic Science Building on Gilman Drive, on UCSD’s La Jolla campus.

The Open House will showcase the results of research on age-related disorders ranging from memory loss to cancer, conducted by UCSD faculty members and students who have received grants from SIRA, a center committed to research, education and patient care for diseases that strike senior citizens.

In addition to the poster displays, two lectures will be presented:

Thomas L. Patterson, Ph.D.

“The Physical and Psychological Impacts of Caregiving,” presented by Thomas L. Patterson, Ph.D., UCSD professor of psychiatry, research psychologist, VA San Diego Healthcare System, and adjunct professor, San Diego State University. One of Patterson’s current research projects, titled “Functional Adaptation Skills Training,” studies the effectiveness of a 24-week group training program that teaches everyday living skills to older patients with schizophrenia.

Robert L. Sah, M.D., Sc.D.

“Treatment of Arthritis Using Bioengineered Cartilage Tissue,” presented by Robert L. Sah, M.D., Sc.D., UCSD professor of bioengineering, member of the Whittier Institute of Biomedical Engineering, and affiliate of the Department of Orthopedics in the UCSD School of Medicine. His recent studies indicate that age-associated fatigue and biochemical modifications may be critical underlying factors in the development of osteoarthritis, one of the most common degenerative conditions to strike older individuals. He will describe the work at UCSD’s Cartilage Tissue Engineering Laboratory.

Following the lectures and questions from the audience, the program will move to the auditorium hallway area so that attendees may view the various research posters and enjoy refreshments.

Information on the program is available to those calling SIRA at (858) 534-6299.

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Sam and Rose Stein Institute on Aging

SIRA scientists share resources and knowledge in the laboratory and clinical research settings to investigate various diseases associated with aging such as Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, arthritis, osteoporosis, stress of caregiving, glaucoma, macular degeneration, arteriosclerosis, late onset schizophrenia and diabetes.

In addition to purchasing core unit equipment that can be shared among the 80 SIRA faculty researchers, SIRA also sponsors research grants.Called “Faculty Start-Up Grants,” this funding helps launch new research projects which allow scientists to make sufficient progress to successfully compete for national funding, and to assist in career development.

SIRA is active in recruiting young students to the field of aging. Through the “Student Investigator Program,” undergraduate and medical students who have expressed an interest in age-related research are teamed with established senior scientists to plan and implement a research project. SIRA's objective is to motivate and develop the next generation of scientists who will engage in aging research.

As America’s elder population grows in size, there is an increasing need for geriatricians who provide patient care and improve our understanding and management of disease. SIRA has instituted a “Geriatric Fellowship Training Program” for physician investigators, a two-year grant program that trains doctors to become independent researchers in the mechanisms and consequences of aging.

SIRA also supports a two-week geriatricians in cooperation with Mexico. While one group of Mexican doctors spends time at UCSD, a second group of UCSD physicians spends time at the Instituto Nacional de la Nutricion. The program seeks to foster international exchange on healthcare, education and research issues in geriatric medicine.

The educational component of SIRA is designed to communicate the latest advances in aging research to the public and to provide resources to help people make informed medical decisions. Included are a free monthly newsletter, public lectures, and a course on healthy aging that is presented to seniors in the community.

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Media Contact:
Sue Pondrom
619-543-6163
spondrom@ucsd.edu

UCSD Health Sciences Communications HealthBeat: http://health.ucsd.edu/news/