Winter 2009 e-Newsletter
Volume 3, Issue 1


  The Science of Healthier Aging
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Thoughts from AFAR - A Note from the Executive Director
2. Corporate and Scientific Leaders Honored for their Contributions to Research on Aging
3. AFAR Hosts Conference on the Biology of Cancer
4. Spotlight On: The Glenn Foundation for Medical Research
5. 10 Reasons AFAR Remains a Good Value
6. Grants and Other News

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Thoughts from AFAR - A Note from the Executive Director

As we embark on 2009, we have a great deal to be grateful for. The sustained support of our friends representing foundations, corporations, the National Institute on Aging, and generous individuals, has allowed us to stay the course in tough economic times. We believe that investing in aging research will provide solid growth, because the strength of AFAR’s investments is its people. And that never loses value.

All the best for a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year.

 

Stephanie Lederman signature
Stephanie Lederman

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Corporate and Scientific Leaders Honored for their Contributions to Research on Aging

Peter D. Meldrum, of Myriad Genetics, Christoph Westphal, MD, PhD, of Sirtris, and John W. Rowe, MD, of Columbia University, were among the honorees at the AFAR annual awards dinner that took place on October 6, 2008, at New York City’s Grand Hyatt. The event, which attracted some 180 people from the corporate, scientific, and foundation communities, as well as individual AFAR supporters, was held in conjunction with AFAR’s scientific conference, Aging and Cancer: Two Sides of the Same Coin. Both events raised more than $250,000 that will support AFAR’s flagship research grant program, which funds early-career scientists studying the biology of aging and age-related diseases and disorders. To read about our 2008 Research Grant recipients, click here.

Other honorees included Arlan Richardson, PhD, of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and Ana Maria Cuervo, MD, PhD, of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

 

Photo of 2008 Honorees
Honorees John W. Rowe, MD, Columbia University, Ana Maria Cuervo, MD, PhD, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Christoph Westphal, MD, PhD, Sirtris, and Peter D. Meldrum, Myriad Genetics.


img src="/images/uploads/migrated/6450.jpg" alt="John W. Rowe, MD, accepts Honorary Leadership Award from AFAR President, Terrie Fox Wetle, PhD" />
John W. Rowe, MD, accepts Honorary Leadership Award from AFAR President, Terrie Fox Wetle, PhD.


AFAR Board member Richard Besdine, MD, Board Chair, Diana Jacobs Kalman, Reverend Monsignor Charles Fahey, and Patrick Waide
AFAR Board member Richard Besdine, MD, Board Chair Diana Jacobs Kalman, Reverend Monsignor Charles Fahey, and former AFAR Board member Patrick Waide.

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AFAR Hosts Conference on the Biology of Cancer

Cancer & Aging header
Nearly 100 scientist and industry leaders attended AFAR’s scientific conference, Aging and Cancer: Two Sides of the Same Coin? on October 6 and 7, 2008. The event explored fundamental aspects of aging and cancer processes and their interactions, both from the basic research and translational perspectives.

An overview of the conference proceedings can be found at www.afar.org/cancerconfproceedings.html. To receive emailed or printed copies, please contact Stacey Harris, director of communications at Stacey@afar.org or 212-703-9977.

A full program listing can be found at www.afar.org/cancerconf.html.

AFAR thanks conference organizers: board members Harvey Cohen, MD, George M. Martin, MD, Roger McCarter, PhD, Dick Sprott, PhD, and Fox Wetle, PhD, as well as Jean-Luc Vanderheyden, PhD, of GE Healthcare and Margaret Yu, MD, of Myriad Pharmaceuticals.

The conference was sponsored by: an anonymous donor, Eli Lilly, The Ellison Medical Foundation, GE Healthcare, Glenn Foundation for Medical Research, Myriad Pharmaceuticals, Pfizer, and the 2008 Dorothy Dillon Eweson Lecture Series.

The meeting was also supported by 1R13AG033508-01 from the National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health.

 

 

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Spotlight On: The Glenn Foundation for Medical Research

For more than two decades, the Glenn Foundation for Medical Research, founded by philanthropist Paul F. Glenn, has been a consistent and loyal supporter of AFAR. Recently, the Glenn Foundation committed $5 million to support the AFAR Research Grant Program and the Glenn/AFAR Breakthroughs in Gerontology (BIG) Awards. AFAR Research Grants provide start-up funding to scientists in the early phases of their careers, enabling them to study the basic mechanisms of aging, age-related diseases, and processes underlying common geriatric functional disorders. The BIG Awards support innovative higher-risk research that may offer significant promise of yielding transforming discoveries in the fundamental biology of aging that could lead to major new insights into the factors that regulate aging. [Read about the 2008 BIG award winners.]

Paul Glenn had a remarkable vision about the promise of research on the biology of aging years before the field of aging research even became a field. Starting the Glenn Foundation for Medical Research in 1965 to direct much needed funds to scientists studying the basic mechanisms of aging processes, created awareness that such an area of scientific study was needed and existed. Glenn understood early on that the way to combat the diseases of aging was to focus on aging itself. His forward-thinking vision has set a precedent that has encouraged other foundation, corporate, government, and individual support for aging research.

Why do forward-thinking people like Paul Glenn partner with AFAR?

According to Paul Glenn, "AFAR is the only organization, other than the National Institutes of Health, that has a peer review capability of evaluating grant applications for research in the biology of aging."

That peer review process ensures that only the highest quality research receives support.

Led by Glenn Foundation president Mark R. Collins, many of the nation’s leading scientists in biogerontology owe their start to Glenn-supported AFAR grants.

For more information about the work of the Glenn Foundation for Medical Research, visit their web site at www.glennfoundation.org.

 

 

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10 Reasons AFAR Remains a Good Value

Even before the financial downturn, AFAR’s administrative costs have always been among the lowest in the nonprofit community. Ninety-five percent of every dollar AFAR spends support research, meetings for scientists to exchange new ideas and knowledge, and public education.

AFAR does this by:

1. Keeping staff small.
2. Collaborating with other like-minded organizations to co-host and co-sponsor events and special reports.
3. Minimizing printing and mailing costs by issuing materials on line.
4. Limiting our solicitations, which prospective donors appreciate. According to some AFAR donors, numerous mailings produce a waste of paper that in these environmentally conscious times puts them off. Donors will for the most part give annually.
5. Keeping programs large, administrative functions small.
6. Handling special events in-house rather than hiring meeting planners.
7. Recruiting volunteers.
8. Hiring interns (and paying them).
9. Keeping costs low, getting multiple bids on projects, and using independent vendors and freelancers.
10. Conducting a regular audit of our fixed expenses: rent, telephone, employee benefits, and see where costs can be reduced. For example, moving our office space to a less popular part of town, saved thousands of dollars annually. The end result? This unpopular area is now the hot place to be.

 

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Grants News

 

  • The AFAR Research Grants awards have increased to $75,000. These grants provide up to 15 junior faculty (MDs and PhDs) with one-to-two-year awards to study topics related to the basic mechanisms of aging, age-related diseases, and the processes underlying common geriatric functional disorders.

     

  • The Neurosciences Education and Research Foundation in memory of Leon Thal has provided $100,000 to supplement six AFAR junior investigators studying the basic biology of aging processes underlying Alzheimer’s disease.

     

  • The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation/AFAR New Investigator Awards in Alzheimer’s Disease program has been renewed for 2009. This program supports junior faculty in the U.S. and Israel who conduct basic biology of aging research on the earliest precursors of Alzheimer’s disease. Up to five one- to two-year grants of $75,000 each will be awarded.

     

  • The Centers of Excellence (CoE) Network Resource Center, part of The John A. Hartford Foundation Centers of Excellence in Geriatric Medicine and Training, has produced two training manuals about recruitment of premedical and medical students and residents to careers in geriatric medicine and advanced fellowship training and academic careers, respectively. A third manual about managing geriatrics programmatic growth and development is under production. Since 2005, AFAR has served as the Network Resource Center for the Foundation’s 28 Centers of Excellence, which is recognized for its considerable capacity to recruit and develop physician leaders in geriatrics. The manuals are available online at GeriatricsRecruitment.org.

     

  • Two grant programs are still open for applications: the Paul Beeson Career Development Awards in Aging Research for the Island of Ireland (deadline: January 22, 2009) and the Medical Student Training in Aging Research (MSTAR) Program (deadline: February 6, 2009.) Deadlines for all other programs have passed. To read more about the MSTAR Program, click here. For more information about AFAR’s grants programs, please contact our grants department at 212-703-9977 or grants@afar.org.

     

Other News

  • On December 11th, AFAR and the Peapack-Gladstone Bank hosted a breakfast event for the residents of Fellowship Village, a retirement and assisted living community in Basking Ridge, New Jersey. AFAR board member and former grantee, Jay Edelberg, MD, PhD, discussed recent medical studies and how they may affect health span. Stephanie Lederman, AFAR executive director, presented AFAR’s work and history. The nearly 70 residents in attendance also heard presentations about the global financial market. John Bonk, vice president and trust officer of Peapack-Gladstone Bank and former AFAR board member, arranged this program.

     

     
    John Bonk   Jay Edelberg, MD, PhD

     

     

  • AFAR welcomes new board members Marie A. Bernard, MD, deputy director of the National Institute on Aging, Mikhail Y. Gurfinkel, JD, managing director, Basic Element, and Kevin J. Lee, PhD, deputy executive director of The Ellison Medical Foundation. William J. Lipton, former vice chair of tax services at Ernst & Young LLP, was elected as chair of the AFAR board. His term will begin in January 2010.

     


    William J. Lipton


    For more information about the American Federation for Aging Research, please visit www.afar.org and www.infoaging.org.

     

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