Life expectancy has nearly doubled over the last century and today there are 35 million Americans age 65 and older. With another 76 million baby boomers born between 1946 and 1964 who are approaching their elder years, never before has it been so important to learn the secrets that contribute to a healthy old age.
This spring, San Diegans have an opportunity to find out about the exciting research on aging that is underway at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) through the Sam and Rose Stein Institute for Research on Aging (SIRA). A free public lecture and poster presentation of various research projects will be held 3-5 p.m. in the Basic Science Building, UCSD School of Medicine, on Gilman Drive within the UCSD campus in La Jolla.
Kicking off the program at 3 p.m. will be a one-hour presentation by Dilip V. Jeste, M.D., newly appointed SIRA director, Estelle and Edgar Levi Chair in Aging and a UCSD professor of psychiatry and neurosciences. He notes that although many older Americans are healthy and active, there are still millions who live with chronic illnesses. Through research programs at SIRA, physicians are learning more about the factors that contribute to disease and healthy aging. In his presentation, Jeste will discuss SIRA’s research activities and public programs, and will invite his audience to comment on future plans.
An organized research unit at UCSD since 1983, SIRA’s goal is to foster healthy aging by supporting advances in patient care through innovative research, training and education. Under the SIRA umbrella, investigators study the causes of common diseases of late life, with the ultimate objective of identifying and developing improved methods of prevention and treatment. SIRA also offers monthly free public lectures on various health topics, distributes an informative newsletter, provides a Faculty Collaborative Grant Program, and is active in the recruitment of students into the field of aging.
At 4 p.m., following the lecture by Jeste, faculty and students will present poster displays of research conducted this past year. Refreshments will be available.
Faculty members Paul Insel, M.D., professor of pharmacology, and Lars Eckmann, M.D., professor of medicine, will present their project “Cyclic AMP and colorectal cancer.” Noting that colorectal cancer affects 130,000 people annually in the US., causing more than 50,000 deaths, the researchers will discuss non-mutated, “modifier” genes such as COX-2 that play a role in the development of colorectal cancer. Insel and Eckmann were the recipients of a $60,000 SIRA Faculty Collaborative Grant.
Also presenting their work will be the recipients of SIRA Faculty Start-Up Grants of $10,000 each:
Januario Castro, M.D., research fellow, Department of Medicine, “Studies of activation and activation induced cell death of CLL cells mediated by oliodeoxynucleotides and Adenovirus CD154: An approach to break immune tolerance.”
Albert C. Chen, Ph.D., assistant project scientist, Department of Bioengineering, “Frictional Properties of the Human Meniscus during Aging.”
Marina Miller, M.D., Ph.D., assistant project scientist, Department of Medicine, “Modulation of allergic immune response by CpG-Allergen conjugates in aged mice.”
Alan H. Nagahara, Ph.D., associate project scientist, Department of Neurosciences, “BDNF gene delivery to the entorhinal cortex of aged impaired rats.”
Russ Richardson, Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Medicine, “Age, endothelial function, and free radical generation during exercise.”
David M. Rose, DVM, Ph.D., assistant adjunct professor, Department of Medicine, “Biological action of a novel alpha-4-beta-1 integrin inhibitor.”
Virginia L. Water, Ph.D., project microbiologist, Department of Medicine, “In vitro correction of colon cancer gene MLH1 by bacterial conjugation.”
Students who have received $8,000 Student Investigator Awards will present their work:
Angelo Baquir, sponsored by Mahadevan Rajasekaran, M.D., Division of Urology, “Development of a Rat Model to evaluate age-related female sexual dysfunction.”
Michael Quay Chem, sponsored by Robert Sah, Ph.D., Department of Bioengineering, “Role of surface wear in age-associated weakening of human articular cartilage.”
Eun Hee Han, sponsored by Robert Sah, Ph.D., Department of Bioengineering, “Metabolic regulation of lubricin/superficial zone protein in articular cartilage.”
Benjamin Hulley, sponsored by Beatrice Golomb, M.D., Department of Medicine, “Serotonin, mood, and irritability: the effect of age.”
Richard Tun-Trong Tran, sponsored by Arnost Fronek, M.D., Departments of Surgery and Bioengineering, “The effects of aging and peripheral arterial diseases on endothelial activity.”
Additional medical student grant recipients who will present posters are:
Sharon DeCruz, sponsored by Lisa T. Eyler Zorilla, Ph.D. and Dilip V. Jeste, M.D., “Effects of duration of schizophrenia on volume of hippocampus and parahippocampus gyrus, and on functional brain response during a verbal learning test.”
Ramez N. Eskander, sponsored by K.L. Paul Sung, Ph.D., “Engineering anterior Curciate ligament tissue from adiopose tissue – derived stromal cells and bone marrow-denied Stem Cells.”
Nora Hongsdusit, sponsored by Elizabeth Barrett-Connor, M.D., “Predicting fracture risk in osteoporosis: a comparison between peripheral BMD and central measurements.”
Yevgeniya Ioffe, sponsored by Arnold Miller, Ph.D., “Protective effects of poly (ADP-Ribose) polymerase inhibitor on rat hippocampal progenitor (HCM) cell treated with AB protein.”
Chirag R. Patel, sponsored by Michael H. Criqui, M.D., MPH, “Twenty-year mortality rates in patients with isolated small vessel peripheral arterial disease.”
For more information about the SIRA Annual Review, call the SIRA office at (858) 534-6299.
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