We are pleased to announce the formation of a new initiative with AARP. This partnership, called the Health Promotion Institute of AARP/AFAR, will foster communication among researchers working in the various subfields of aging science, and provide opportunities for scientists in the field to interact with the media, the public, and other organizations that target America’s older population.

AFAR’s new president, Roger McCarter, PhD, serves as chair of the Health Promotion Institute’s Scientific Advisory Board. The other Advisory Board members include James Appleby, RPh, MPH; Lois Aronstein; Marie Bernard, MD; Richard Besdine, MD; Harvey Cohen, MD; Peggy Conlon; Jay Edelberg, MD, PhD; Linda Fried, MD; William Hall, MD; George Mensah, MD; Rick Moody, PhD; Gary Moulton; Clarence Pearson; Scott Ratzan, MD; David Reuben, MD; John Rother; Marvin Waldman; Terrie Wetle, PhD; Nancy Whitelaw, PhD; Sharon Whiteley; and Jay Winsten, PhD.

We at AFAR are excited to work with AARP on this important initiative, and we look forward to another productive decade!

Stephanie Lederman
New Health Promotion Institute
The American Federation for Aging Research recently partnered with AARP to form the Health Promotion Institute of AARP and AFAR. The goal of the Institute is to foster communication among researchers working in the various subfields of aging science, as well as to provide opportunities for scientists in the field to interact with the media, the public, and other organizations that target America’s older population. The focus will be on targeted forms of communication—getting people information that is of particular relevance and interest to them.

AFAR’s new president, Roger McCarter, PhD, serves as chair of the Health Promotion Institute’s Scientific Advisory Board. The board met for the first time on October 5, 2010 to discuss various communication efforts. AFAR is excited to work with AARP on this important initiative!
Meet AFAR’s Newest Board Members
AFAR is thrilled to welcome three new members to its Board of Directors: Nir Barzilai, MD; Robert H. Binstock, PhD; and William J. Hall, MD.

Dr. Nir Barzilai is the director of the Nathan Shock Institute for Aging Research at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and the principal investigator at the Nathan Shock Center of Excellence in Biology of Aging. His research focuses on the biology of aging, including the biological effects of nutrients on extending life. Dr. Barzilai discovered the first longevity gene in humans. He has received numerous grants from AFAR, including the 2010 Irving S. Wright Award of Distinction.

Dr. Robert Binstock is professor of Aging, Health, and Society at Case Western Reserve University. He has served as director of a White House Task Force on Older Americans, and as chairman and member of several advisory panels to the U.S. government and state and local governments. Dr. Binstock is a former president of the Gerontological Society of America and a former chair of the Gerontological Health Section of the American Public Health Association. He is currently a member of the MacArthur Foundation’s Research Network on an Aging Society.

Dr. William Hall is the Paul Fine Professor of Medicine at the University of Rochester School of Medicine, where he directs the Center for Healthy Aging at Highland Hospital in Rochester, New York. Dr. Hall is an internist and geriatrician with more than 30 years of clinical experience. Recognized nationally and internationally for his work in geriatrics, Dr. Hall is a frequent speaker across the country. He is a former president of the American College of Physicians, and presently serves on the Board of Directors of AARP.
A Chat With AFAR’s New President, Roger McCarter, PhD
Roger McCarterOn December 2, 2010, Roger McCarter, PhD replaced Terrie T. Wetle, PhD as president of the American Federation for Aging Research. Dr. McCarter, who began his academic career in 1970, is professor of Biobehavioral Health at Penn State University. His research activities, which focus on mechanisms and theories of aging, have been continuously funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health and private agencies for the past 30 years. Dr. McCarter has served as president of the American Aging Association, the International Biogerontology Resources Institute, the Gerontological Society of America, and the Pan American Congress on Gerontology and Geriatrics. In 2009, he was awarded the Presidential Medal for contributions to the development of gerontology at the International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics in Paris.

AFAR has had a long relationship with Dr. McCarter. He joined AFAR’s grants review committee in 2003, becoming chair of the committee in 2007. In 2006, he joined the AFAR Board of Directors, and became vice president in 2007. Our new president took some time to answer a few questions about AFAR and his goals for the organization.

How does it feel to be AFAR’s new president?
I am delighted and honored to follow Fox Wetle—a fantastic person and a very distinguished figure in gerontology and geriatrics—in this role. AFAR is an organization whose time has come in the research arena. As a truly respected scientific body whose job is to stimulate research in the biology of aging, it fills an important niche in the country today.

What changes have you noticed since you first became involved with AFAR?
One of the problems in the past was getting new investigators into the field of aging research. But now, aging has become very hot. The number of applications we get has dramatically increased. I’m also on the Ellison Medical Foundation’s grants review committee, and their number of applications has dramatically increased. So there’s no question that we’re getting excellent young scientists into the aging arena, and I think AFAR has been a real catalyst in that.

What are some things going on at AFAR right now?

AFAR is launching important outreach initiatives in the international arena that were championed by Fox Wetle. We’ve also got new partnerships with AARP, and potentially with PepsiCo and several other organizations. These things are all in the development stage, but we’re very excited about them. This is an incredibly exciting time in the history of this organization, and I’m very happy to be playing a role in it.

What are some of your plans for AFAR?

Our biggest problem—as is everybody’s these days—is funding. Getting funding for research opportunities is extremely important. I see my job as being one of trying to expedite the connections to potential funding agencies. So, most of my time will be devoted to working as liaison with AARP and other commercial initiatives. Our connection with AARP is a major opportunity to get the word out regarding the importance of aging research and what it could mean to the country’s economy. It’s a national imperative to try to have old people healthy, because so much of our health care dollars are spent in treating the diseases of old age. We are all living longer and longer, so we are all going to be old. It’ll make a huge difference if we are old and healthy.

As AFAR celebrates its 30th anniversary, which of its accomplishments are you most proud of?
That’s a tough one to think about because there have been so many! I think the emergence of AFAR as the preeminent organization in the field of research on the biology of aging is the accomplishment of which I am most proud. AFAR is the premier organization in the U.S. today stimulating the development of young scientists and bringing new scientists into the field of the biology of aging. I think it is widely perceived as a major player by all of the individuals concerned about the health of the elderly and the development of research in this area.

We have, in my view, one of the most able and creative executive directors in the country today in Stephanie Lederman. AFAR’s staff is terrific. They all work so hard! AFAR’s scientific director, George M. Martin, is a magnificent scientist and a wonderful human being.

We’ve also got a wonderful Board of Directors; people from all walks of life. At the AFAR Board I meet people who really know a lot about about business. I find it so intellectually stimulating to deal with them. They all seem committed to the well-being of the organization. AFAR seems to breed a lot of loyalty, and I think everybody absolutely believes in the fundamental mission: that if we could produce healthy old people, it would have enormous economic impact and be good for everybody.

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.


Thoughts from AFAR - A Note from the Executive Director
New Health Promotion Institute
Meet AFAR's Newest Board Members
Chat With AFAR's New President, Dr. Roger McCarter
Happy 30th Birthday, AFAR!
Grant Amounts Increased
Glazer Foundation Joins Funding Partnership
New Look for AFAR Online
AFAR Joins the Health Research Alliance
Happy 30th Anniversary, AFAR!
This year, as we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the founding of the American Federation for Aging Research, we at AFAR look back with pride at all we have accomplished over the past three decades.

Since its inception in 1981, AFAR has awarded approximately $132 million to nearly 2,800 talented researchers through its various grant programs. Their work has taught us a great deal about aging processes, age-related diseases and conditions, and healthy aging practices. Many of today’s leaders in aging research got their start with an AFAR grant.
A Bit of History
Irving S. Wright, MD, a pioneer in aging research, founded the American Federation for Aging Research at age 78. Dr. Wright, a former president of both the American College of Physicians and the American Heart Association, foresaw a substantial age boom in the coming years. He convened a group of 35 aging-research leaders to map out the needs for an aging society, which included financial support to encourage more scientists to enter the field of aging research. AFAR was born.

Since then, AFAR’s work has grown at a steady pace. In its first year, AFAR awarded $60,000 total to four investigators through its flagship program, the AFAR Research Grants. AFAR went on to collaborate with many top organizations to provide a broad array of funding opportunities. In 2010, AFAR awarded over $5 million to 92 early- and mid-career scientists and medical students through its various grant programs.

Looking Ahead
As AFAR heads into its fourth decade, we remain committed to our work to ensure that the most talented scientists enter the fields of aging research and geriatric medicine. We will continue to work with our partners, and to reach out to new partners, to fund research and to launch and support careers that will be critical to the well-being of our aging population.
AFAR Research Grants and New Investigator Awards Are Now $100,000
The AFAR Research Grants and the New Investigator Awards in Alzheimer’s Disease have increased from $75,000 to $100,000 each. These increases will allow awardees to improve the quality and quantity of their research, and will make the awards more competitive with those of other funding organizations.

The AFAR Research Grants provide one- to two-year awards to promising junior MDs and PhDs to conduct research in the basic mechanisms of aging and in age-related diseases.

The New Investigator Awards in Alzheimer’s Disease provide funding to research the biological, genetic, and environmental causes of AD. The program encourages junior investigators in the U.S. and Israel to pursue careers in the neurosciences, particularly Alzheimer’s disease.
The Diane and Guilford Glazer Foundation Joins Funding Partnership on Alzheimer’s Disease Research
AFAR is pleased to announce that The Diane and Guilford Glazer Foundation has become a sponsor of the New Investigator Awards in Alzheimer’s Disease. The foundation joins a funding partnership that includes The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation and AFAR. “This new partnership will be crucial in achieving results that impact Alzheimer’s disease research, and marks another bold step in expanding the field of researchers focused on identifying markers of this devastating disease, and ultimately eradicating the disease,” says Stephanie Lederman, executive director of AFAR.

The 2011 New Investigator Awards will provide five junior faculty with up to $100,000 each to conduct scientific research leading to improved methods of prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

The Diane and Guilford Glazer Foundation aims to encourage cutting edge initiatives in the areas of higher education, interfaith relationships, and health related research in the United States and Israel. AFAR is thrilled to partner with the foundation on the New Investigator Awards in Alzheimer’s Disease.
Check Out AFAR’s New—and Improved—Web site!
Have you visited www.afar.org lately? If so, you may have noticed some big changes! AFAR, with help from board member Joyce Yaeger, has given its web site a full redesign. With improved navigation, a dynamic new design, and a greater emphasis on AFAR’s research, the site is now even more user-friendly and informative. It is also chock full of new features:
  • An improved news section that will allow visitors to learn more about our grantees
  • A blog, “Who’s Who in the Science of Aging,” that will enable AFAR to connect with site visitors. In 2011, the blog will spotlight women in science through monthly interviews with prominent individuals in the field.
  • Incorporation of Infoaging.org into AFAR’s main website, which is currently under construction for its own new design and overhaul
  • Connections to AFAR’s social media outlets

Of course, you can still visit afar.org to learn about and apply for our grant programs, see a list of our grantees, read our various publications, and much more. Check out www.afar.org today. We hope you enjoy it!
AFAR Joins the Health Research Alliance
AFAR became a member of the Health Research Alliance (HRA) in 2010, joining 50 organizations that include the Alzheimer’s Association, the American Cancer Society, the Ellison Medical Foundation, and more. HRA’s purpose is to improve communication and foster collaboration among not-for-profit, non-governmental funders. These efforts support a wide variety of health research and training, from biomedical science to applications that advance health. HRA member organizations provide over $1.5 billion in research awards each year, funding more than 5,500 researchers annually.

Odette van der Willik, AFAR’s director of grant programs, serves as co-chair of HRA’s Early Career Scientists Working Group. The group gives funders with career development awards the opportunity to develop common approaches to emerging and evolving issues, to discuss coordination issues that may arise when two organizations are funding the same awardee, and to share resources and build community across all of their early career awardees.

AFAR is excited to be a member of HRA and looks forward to working with its fellow member organizations!


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