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American Federation for Aging Research Awards More Than $5 Million in Grants

The American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR), in partnership with foundations, corporations, and the National Institute on Aging—and through the support of generous individuals—has awarded over $5 million to 92 early and mid-career scientists and medical students through its 2010 grants programs. Nearly 2,800 researchers—many of whom have gone on to become leaders in the field of aging research—have received AFAR-supported grants since AFAR’s inception in 1981.
Sixteen junior investigators received awards of up to $75,000 each through AFAR’s flagship program, the AFAR Research Grants. This program provides awards to promising junior MDs and PhDs to conduct research in the basic mechanisms of aging and in age-related diseases.
To learn more about the 2010 AFAR Research Grant recipients, visit us at www.afar.org.
 
   
The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation and AFAR Award Grants to Scientists for Research on How to Better Prevent, Diagnose, and Treat Alzheimer's Disease
Five scientists received awards of $75,000 each through The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation/AFAR New Investigator Awards in Alzheimer's Disease. The awards provide funding in the biological, genetic, and environmental causes of Alzheimer's disease (AD). The program encourages junior investigators in the U.S. and Israel to pursue careers in the neurosciences, particularly AD. Now in its fourth year, the program has provided about $1.3 million to 21 scientists. Read more about the winners' projects here.
    
   
2010 Beeson Scholars Will Receive More Than $6 Million to Support Careers on Age-Related Diseases and Clinical Care
AFAR is pleased to announce the 2010 recipients of the Paul B. Beeson Career Development Awards in Aging Research Program. A total of 165 scholars to date have been selected for this highly competitive and prestigious award, which seeks to create a cadre of clinically-trained faculty who are committed to academic careers in aging research, teaching, and practice. Since the program's inception in 1995, Beeson Scholars have received more than $92 million in research grant support.

The 2010 Beeson Scholars are:

Jeffrey Caterino, MD, Assistant Professor, Ohio State University: “Expanding Antimicrobial Stewardship for Long Term Care Facility Patients”

Anna Csiszar, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center: “Resveratrol Confers Endothelial Protection via Induction of NF-E2–Related Factor-2-driven Antioxidant Genes: Implications for Microvascular Aging”

Leora Horwitz, MD, Assistant Professor, Yale University School of Medicine: “Heart Failure Readmissions in Older Adults: A Systems Perspective”

Amy Kind, MD, Assistant Professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison: “The Hospital Discharge Summary’s Impact on Sub-Acute Care Patient Outcomes”

Michael McWilliams, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Health Care Policy and Medicine, Harvard Medical School: “Reforming Medicare: Beneficiary Choice, Plan Payment, and Accountable Care”

Timothy Miller, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor, Washington University School of Medicine: “Changing tau Protein Levels and tau Protein Isoforms in Mouse Models of Dementia”

Thomas Robinson, MD, Associate Professor of Surgery, University of Colorado at Denver Health Sciences Center: “A Placebo Controlled Trial of L-Tryptophan in Post-Operative Delirium”

Stephen Thielke, MD, MSPH, MA, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington: “Development and Evaluation of a Depression Risk Calculator”

The Paul B. Beeson Career Development Awards in Aging Research Program is named in honor of the late Paul B. Beeson, MD, who was professor emeritus of medicine at the University of Washington. Dr. Beeson’s vision was to increase the number of physicians with a combined clinical, academic, and scientific expertise to care for a growing older population. Visit beeson.org to learn more.

    
   
The Ellison Medical Foundation and AFAR Award $1.1 Million to Scientists Studying the Biology of Aging With the Julie Martin Mid-Career Awards

The 2010 Julie Martin Mid-Career Awards in Aging Research have gone to Kenneth Poss, PhD, associate professor at Duke University Medical Center and Joanne Turner, PhD, associate professor at the Ohio State University. Sponsored by The Ellison Medical Foundation, the grants provide funding of $550,000 to mid-career scientists whose research has great protential in advancing understanding of basic aging and its impact on age-related diseases. Through a partnership with AFAR established in 2005, The Ellison Medical Foundation has so far awarded $5.5 million to 10 researchers.

    
   
BIG Research Could Lead to New Discoveries in the Biology of Aging

Two researchers—Daniel Promislow, PhD, professor, University of Georgia and Peter S. Rabinovitch, MD, PhD, professor, University of Washington—were selected as the 2010 recipients of the Breakthroughs in Gerontology (BIG) Award sponsored by the Glenn Foundation for Medical Research and AFAR. Established in 2005, the BIG Award provides $200,000 grants for high risk, original research that offers significant promise of yielding transforming discoveries in the fundamental biology of aging.

    
   
The Ellison Medical Foundation/AFAR Give 20 Postdoctoral Fellows the Opportunity to Conduct Research in the Biology of Aging

Through the Ellison Medical Foundation/AFAR Postdoctoral Fellows in Aging Research Program, 20 researchers received one-year fellowships to study the fundamental mechanisms of aging. The program was developed to address concerns about an adequate funding base for this type of research among postdoctoral fellows.

Read full summaries of the Ellison/AFAR Fellows' projects.

    
   
More Than 100 Medical Students Are Named 2010 MSTAR Scholars
This year, a total of 104 medical students were awarded Medical Student Training in Aging Research (MSTAR) scholarships. The MSTAR program—sponsored by The John A Hartford Foundation, the MetLife Foundation, the National Institute on Aging, the Community Health Foundation of Western and Central New York, and the Lillian R. Gleitsman Foundation—gives medical students the opportunity to participate in an eight- to twelve-week research, educational, and clinical mentorship program in geriatrics alongside top experts at some of the leading academic institutions in the country. The program—established in 1994 as the Hartford/AFAR Medical Student Geriatric Scholars Program—has trained more than 1,450 students to date.

 

Read the full list of the 2010 MSTAR Scholars.
    
   
Spotlight On A Sponsor: MetLife Foundation
Last fall, AFAR announced a new sponsor for its Medical Student Training in Aging Research (MSTAR) Program: MetLife Foundation. The Foundation’s $200,000 grant funded research for 50 additional students in 2010, increasing MSTAR’s training by about 40 percent. AFAR is thrilled that MetLife Foundation has committed $220,000 to the 2011 program. “We are pleased to fund this program, which helps physicians in their early years of medical education receive mentoring and training in the field of geriatric medicine,” says Dennis White, president and CEO of MetLife Foundation. “AFAR’s effort to attract more physicians to this field is important, particularly at a time when the aging population is increasing in our nation.”

MetLife Foundation was established in 1976 by MetLife to carry on its long-standing tradition of corporate contributions and community involvement. The Foundation has been involved in a variety of aging-related initiatives addressing issues of caregiving, intergenerational activities, mental fitness, health and wellness programs, and civic involvement. For more than 20 years, MetLife and MetLife Foundation have invested millions of dollars for Alzheimer’s research and public information programs.

To learn more about MetLife Foundation, go to www.metlife.org.
    
   
Thank You, 2010 AFAR Selection Committees!
AFAR would like to take a moment to thank the members of its 2010 grant Selection Committees for their dedication, enthusiasm, and commitment. AFAR’s committees are comprised of experts in aging research and related areas of research who volunteer their time and expertise to the AFAR grant review processes. These programs and AFAR could not exist without their help. See a list of all members of the 2010 AFAR Selection Committees.
    
   
AFAR Awards More Than $5 Million in Grants
Gilbert Foundation/AFAR Awards in Alzheimer's Disease
2010 Beeson Scholars
Julie Martin Mid-Career Award in Aging Research
Glenn/AFAR Breakthroughs in Gerontology (BIG) Awards
Ellison Medical Foundation/AFAR Postdoctoral Fellows
Medical Student Training and Research (MSTAR) Program
AFAR Honors Leaders in Aging Research
Centers of Excellence in Geriatric Medicine
AFAR Grantee Conference and Paul F. Glenn Symposium
2010 AFAR Annual Gala and Scientific Conference
Spotlight on the MetLife Foundation
Thank You, 2010 AFAR Selection Committees!
   
AFAR Honors Today's and Tomorrow's Leaders in Aging Research
Nir Barzilai, MD, director of the Institute for Aging Research at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and the principal investigator (NIH) at the Nathan Shock Center of Excellence in the Basic Biology of Aging, was the 2010 recipient of the American Federation for Aging Research Irving S. Wright Award of Distinction. Irving S. Wright is the founder of the American Federation for Aging Research. The award named in his honor is intended to recognize exceptional contributions to basic or clinical research in the field of aging by members of the scientific community.

Dr. Barzilai has received numerous grants from AFAR, the National Institute on Aging (NIA), and The Ellison Medical Foundation. His research provides insight into the biology of aging and the possibility of developing therapies that will delay the aging process and the diseases associated with it. “AFAR ‘adopted’ me when I was a young scientist seeking a chance in the field of aging research,” says Dr. Barzilai. “There comes a time when children go from being supported by their parents to supporting them. Now seems the time for me to be supporting AFAR … yet they continue to support me. I am humbled by their decision to continue to show their support by honoring me with the Irving S. Wright Award.”

Andrew Dillin, PhD, associate professor and pioneer developmental chair in the Molecular and Cell Biology Lab at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, has received the 2010 Vincent Cristofalo Rising Star in Aging Research Award. The late Dr. Vincent Cristofalo devoted his career to conducting aging research and encouraging young scientists to investigate important problems in the biology of aging. The award recognizes outstanding researchers in the first half of their careers who have made major discoveries in the fundamental biology of aging and whose work will be highly influential for decades to come.

Dr. Dillin has worked to define the genetic pathways required for aging by discovering key genes involved in insulin/IGF-1 signaling. His group at the Salk Institute discovered the key genetic component required for the response to dietary restriction. Dr. Dillin’s emphasis is now on understanding protein homeostasis during the aging process to understand diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.
    
   
The John A. Hartford Foundation and AFAR Fund 25 Centers of Excellence
Last October, The John A. Hartford Foundation awarded AFAR a three-year grant to manage a restructured Centers of Excellence (CoE) in Geriatric Medicine program to more efficiently and productively meet the nation’s urgent need for academic geriatrics faculty. The CoE program has been a cornerstone of the Hartford Foundation’s medicine portfolio. It has had a huge impact on increasing the number of current and future academic geriatricians, as well as specialty and subspecialty physicians with an interest in the geriatrics-related aspects of their discipline. This year, 25 Centers will receive awards of about $60,000 to $200,000 to support 92 advanced Fellows and junior faculty.
    
   
2010 AFAR Grantee Conference and Paul F. Glenn Symposium in Santa Barbara
The 23rd annual AFAR Grantee Conference took place June 6-8 at the Four Seasons Biltmore Hotel in Santa Barbara, California. Forty-two grantees attended, in addition to speakers and AFAR staff. Featured speakers included Brian Kennedy, PhD, Buck Institute for Age Research; Thomas A. Rando, MD, PhD, Stanford University School of Medicine; Yousin Suh, PhD, Albert Einstein College of Medicine; and Steven N. Austad, PhD, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. A funding session was given by Kevin Lee, PhD, Deputy Executive Director of the Ellison Medical Foundation, and Anna McCormick, PhD, Chief and Genetics Program Director, National Institute on Aging, NIH.

 

The AFAR-GE Healthcare Junior Investigator Awards for Excellence in Imaging and Aging Research were presented to Liana Apostolova of UCLA, Duygu Tosun of UCSF, and Prashanthi Vemuri and Jennifer Whitwell of the Mayo Clinic.

 

The Paul F. Glenn Symposium on the Biology of Aging also took place at the Four Seasons Biltmore, June 7-9. The symposium included talks by many prominent speakers and many of the symposium’s participants attended the Grantee Conference’s poster session. The workshop also included a dinner to honor Paul F. Glenn, founder of the Glenn Foundation for Medical Research, for his dedication, long standing vision and incredible generosity as a leader in the field of aging research.
    
   
2010 AFAR Annual Gala and Scientific Conference
On October 4, 2010, a vibrant mix of individuals in medicine, research, business, media, and government came together to celebrate several leaders in the field of aging research at the AFAR Annual Gala at the Union Club in New York City. Those leaders included Dr. Nir Barzilai, recipient of the Irving S. Wright Award of Distinction, and Dr. Andrew Dillin, recipient of the Vincent Cristofalo Rising Star in Aging Research Award. The Gala also honored the 2010 recipients of the AFAR Awards of Distinction. They are: Sam and Ann Barshop, founders of the Sam and Ann Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio; Dr. Sylvain Durrleman, VP and Head of Ageing Therapeutic Strategy, sanofi-aventis R&D, France; Bill Novelli, Professor, McDonough School of Business, Georgetown University and former CEO, AARP; and Clarence E. Pearson, Global Health Advocate. All dinner proceeds will support the AFAR Research Grant Program.

The AFAR Scientific Conference also took place on October 4 at the Union Club. This year’s conference highlighted new discoveries in our understanding of the major metabolic pathways associated with the target of rapamycin (TOR) signaling and how these insights relate to the regulation of aging, explored the feasibility of clinical trials for aging intervention and/or disease prevention, and spotlighted recent discoveries of next generation mammalian TOR inhibitors and delivery systems. Several experts spoke on these topics throughout the day.

AFAR would like to thank The Ellison Medical Foundation, the Glenn Foundation for Medical Research, the National Institute on Aging-National Institutes of Health and an anonymous donor for sponsoring the AFAR Scientific Conference.
    
   
 
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