This year, in continued celebration of our 30th anniversary, we take time to recognize the many women in science doing important work in their field. As the field of aging research has expanded and thrived, so too has the number of female scientists.

In AFAR’s earliest days, we saw few grant applications submitted by women. In our first decade, 25% of AFAR Research Grants were awarded to women. Now female and male scientists and medical students are equally applying for and receiving grants. Our female scientists are contributing to important discoveries in aging research and are serving as mentors to the next generation of scientists.

We are excited to feature women in science in this year’s annual report, highlighting the important work of grantees Rochelle Buffenstein, PhD, Arti Hurria, MD, and Holly Van Remmen, PhD. Their reseach spans from investigating the mechanisms of neuromuscular aging, to testing the how older adults tolerate cancer therapy drugs, to using long-lived naked mole rats to study genetic mechanisms in tumor development.

We are so proud of our grantees and their research, moving the science of aging and geriatric care forward.

Stephanie Lederman
 
 
   
Our celebration of AFAR’s 30 years of aging research continues with the Annual Awards Dinner to be held on October 4, 2011, at the Union Club in New York City. AFAR will honor Mehmood Khan, MD, chief executive officer of the Global Nutrition Group and chief scientific officer at PepsiCo; Mrs. Nancy Kissinger, philanthropist and founding member of the Women & Science initiative at Rockefeller University; and Rose W. Dobrof, DSW, founding director of the Institute for the Study of Aging at Hunter College. Dr. Judy Salerno, executive officer of the Institute of Medicine, will provide the keynote speech.

AFAR will also recognize: the 2011 recipient of the Irving S. Wright Award of Distinction, Steven N. Austad, PhD, of the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio; and the 2011 recipient of the Vincent Cristofalo “Rising Star” Award in Aging Research, Matt Kaeberlein, PhD, of the University of Washington.

For more information, please contact Nancy O'Leary at 212-703-9977 or Nancy@afar.org.
    
   
AFAR on the Web
The site-wide upgrade of the AFAR website is still underway, with the Infoaging section now in the process of a facelift and review. Other parts of the site now have the updated ‘look and feel’ and some new web site initiatives are underway:
  • Our new blog, ‘Who’s Who in Aging Science,’ profiles one person each month who has helped advance aging research. As part of our 30th anniversary celebration, we are using this blog to showcase the many women in science that are changing the STEM field. Check out the blog to read about Marnie Imhoff, Joan Herbers, Dr. Reisa Sperling, and many more!
  • Ever wonder about the training experience of MSTAR summer scholars? Stay tuned for a second blog feature launching this summer, ‘Diary of an MSTAR Student.’ This feature will highlight personal, day-in-the-life entries by MSTAR students in the midst of their summer program of research and clinical training. These diaries aim to inspire others who might be considering careers in medicine, as well as the general public and journalists about the importance of geriatrics training.
    
   
AFAR in the News
The Huffington Post (Feb-May 2011) – AFAR Medical Officer Richard Besdine, MD, discusses geriatric care and healthy aging in a continuing featured blog on the health section of The Huffington Post. Topics have included improving health care with geriatrics training, the funding crisis in supporting the science of aging, a five point ‘cheat sheet’ for healthy aging, and a feature on late-life depression. These blog posts bring AFAR’s research and priority issues to a wide audience, giving readers the ability to comment and also direct them to the AFAR website.

The Week (May 6, 2011) – The Week magazine featured AFAR as the "Charity of the Week. ” AFAR's profile appears in the personal finance section of the print magazine, which highlights a different 4-star-rated charity each week.

New York Times (April 18, 2011) – AFAR grantee Adam Gazzaley, MD, PhD, is featured for his recent study on the declining ability to multitask as we age. The study, designed to examine differences in working memory, compared a test group of younger adults with a group of older people, and found differences in the brain MRI scans of the two groups while multitasking. Dr. Gazzaley hopes that further research could lead to the development of techniques for both improving and preserving working memory, thus allowing older adults to keep up in a face-paced work environment. He is a recipient of the 2005 Pfizer/AFAR Innovations in Aging Award and a 2002 Glenn/AFAR Postdoctoral Award.
    
   

AFAR 30 Years

The American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR) is committed to promoting the science of healthier aging. Founded in 1981, AFAR focuses its activities on three major initiatives: Identifying and funding a broad range of early-career scientists whose cutting-edge research on the biology of how we age is most likely to increase knowledge about healthy aging; creating opportunities for scientists and clinicians to share knowledge and exchange ideas to encourage innovation in aging research; and providing information to the public on new medical findings that can help people live longer lives, less susceptible to disease and disability. For more information on AFAR, please visit www.afar.org.
   
New Frontiers in Aging Symposium
On April 5, 2011, this evening symposium brought the research of three leading scientists and AFAR grantees to the public: Dr. Nir Barzilai of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Dr. Stephanie Cosentino of the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and Dr. Mark S. Lachs of the Weill Medical College. Each brought a unique perspective of aging research to the presentation, highlighting the genetics of longevity, health care delivery for our aging population, and the science behind Alzheimer’s disease. AFAR Executive Director Stephanie Lederman moderated the discussion and took questions from the audience of over 100 individuals. The event was co-sponsored by the Women’s City Club of New York, a long-standing activist organization that shapes policy in New York through education, advocacy, and civic participation.
    
   
Thoughts from AFAR - A Note from the Executive Director
Upcoming Events
AFAR/AARP Initiative: PepsiCo Meeting
You Are What You Don't Eat: Caloric Restriction & Aging
New Frontiers in Aging Symposium
AFAR on the Web
In the News
 
   
AARP/AFAR Initiative: PepsiCo Meeting
The Health Promotion Institute of AARP and AFAR collaborated with PepsiCo to develop a conference on ‘Nutrition and Healthy Aging.’ The event was hosted by PepsiCo on March 21st, 2011, at their global headquarters in Purchase, NY, and was both well-attended and well-received. The conference honored Donald M. Kendall, PepsiCo co-founder and former chairman and CEO, who delivered a lecture on nutrition and healthy aging. PepsiCo has a strong interest in exploring potential opportunities for research and developing food and/or beverages that may meet the specific needs of frail and at-risk populations. The Health Promotion Institute was asked to provide the ‘science’ that could enhance the PepsiCo research development knowledge of nutrition and aging, providing assistance to identify and invite leaders in the field who could speak to those issues. AFAR is currently in the process of exploring a similar corporate collaboration with sanofi-aventis on the topic of oncology.
      
   
You Are What You Don't Eat: Caloric Restriction and Aging
Can we manipulate our diet to extend our life? Some researchers think so. On March 31, 2011, AFAR held a media briefing on caloric restriction to explore the questions raised by new research on the biological processes associated with restricting caloric intact, which has been associated with positive effects in animal models. Luigi Fontana, MD, PhD of Washington University in St. Louis, and Don Ingram, PhD, of Pennington Biomedical Center, discussed their recent findings on the specific molecular mechanisms in the body that are involved in caloric restriction. Drs. Fontana and Ingram highlighted that, while caloric restriction as a diet choice for humans may not have the same effect, knowledge of these biological pathways could be used develop interventions that mimic caloric restriction’s positive effects on lifespan. Freelance science writers and journalists from publications such as Popular Science, ReachMD Radio, Marie Claire and Scientific American, attended the event, held at the New York Yacht Club.
      
   
 
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