Symposium 2017

2017 Symposium on Healthy Aging

October 25-27, Mohonk Mountain House

George M. Martin, MD - Keynote Speaker

George M. Martin, MD - Keynote Speaker

Dr. Martin received his BS and MD degrees from the University of Washington and has been a member of its faculty since 1957. After an internship at the Montreal General Hospital and a residency in anatomic pathology at the University of Chicago, he pursued postdoctoral research in somatic cell genetics under Professor Guido Pontecorvo at Glasgow University. Other postdoctoral experiences included research in molecular biology with Francois Gros in Paris and in experimental embryology with Henry Harris and Richard Gardner at Oxford University. Honors for his research have included awards from the Gerontological Society of America, the American Federation for Aging Research, a World Alzheimer Congress Lifetime Achievement Award, an Outstanding Alumnus Award from the University of Washington School Of Medicine, and election to the National Academy of Medicine. Dr. Martin is a Past President of the Tissue Culture Society of America, the American Federation for Aging Research and the Gerontological Society of America.

Dr. Martin’s research utilized genetic approaches to the study of aging and age-related diseases in mammals. His lab contributed to our understanding of a number of mechanisms for the heritable alteration of genetic information. Biochemical, cytogenetic and somatic cell genetic studies of cells from aging mammals addressed various somatic mutational theories of aging and provided the first data on mutation frequencies in human epithelial cells in aging human subjects. These studies were reinforced by investigations of a remarkable human progeroid syndrome, the Werner syndrome, resulting in the discovery of causative mutations in a member of the RecQ family of DNA helicases. Cells from these patients were shown to undergo accelerated replicative senescence. Related studies provided the first evidence for the limited replicative potential of arterial cells and its potential role in atherogenesis. Interests in the aging of post-replicative cells led to his founding of the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at the University of Washington, research on two of the three dominant mutations that cause early onset Alzheimer’s disease, and the creation of the first mouse model bearing one such mutation. His current research efforts involve tests of the hypothesis that age related increases in variegated gene expressions in homologous cell types may be regarded as a form of antagonistic pleiotropic gene action.

At a more clinical level, Dr. Martin systematized our knowledge of human genetic disorders from the point of view of their rich potential to elucidate specific aspects of the senescent phenotype and used this analysis to make inferences concerning the polygenic basis of aging.

Peter D. Adams

Peter D. Adams

Peter D. Adams obtained his Ph.D. from Imperial Cancer Research Fund London in 1993 and did post-doctoral work with William G. Kaelin, Jr. at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Boston, 1993-1999. Dr. Adams had his own lab at Fox Chase Cancer Center Philadelphia from 1999-2008 and then moved to the Beatson Institute for Cancer Research (BICR), Glasgow, where he was head of the Epigenetics Unit at University of Glasgow and BICR (2008-2017). Recently, he relocated to Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Center, San Diego, although he still has a lab in Glasgow. Over the years, he has studied signal transduction, cell cycle control, cell senescence, and its control by chromatin and epigenetics, mostly in the context of cancer. Dr. Adams is now passionate to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying the exponential increase in cancer incidence with age―an important but understudied problem. In particular, he is interested in the contribution of age-associated epigenetic changes to the onset of age-associated cancer, and the mechanisms by which cells harness the dynamic epigenome to permit phenotypic stability and healthy aging (a process for which his lab coined the term “chromostasis”, for chromatin homeostasis). He is also exploiting the new generation of small molecule epigenetic inhibitors for the development of novel cancer therapies. In the UK, his lab is funded by CRUK, BBSRC, and MRC and in the US by NIA. Dr. Adams is co-editor-in-chief of Aging Cell.

Peter Arvan

Peter Arvan

Peter Arvan is Chief of the Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology & 
Diabetes (MEND), Professor of Medicine and Physiology, and the Brehm Professor of Diabetes
 Research at the University of Michigan. Dr. Arvan received his bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and his MD and Ph.D. degrees from Yale University School of Medicine. Following residency training in
internal medicine, Dr. Arvan completed fellowship training in Endocrinology at Yale. Dr. Arvan joined the faculty at Harvard Medical School in 1988. He moved to Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 1996 and became Division Chief at Michigan in 2003. Dr. Arvan’s research has focused on how polypeptide hormone precursors are processed into bioactive hormones, especially insulin synthesis and thyroid hormone synthesis. He is specifically interested in understanding how hormone precursors are made and converted into biologically-active hormones, and how these steps go wrong in various disease states. Dr. Arvan’s work focuses increasingly on protein misfolding in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), leading to a problem called “ER stress”. Dr. Arvan was a PEW scholar in the Biomedical Sciences and is an elected member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the American Association of Physicians. He won the R.R. Bensley (AAA) and Van Meter (ATA) awards, and was a Pfizer Visiting Professor, a Burroughs-Wellcome Visiting Professor, and the Sidney Ingbar Lecturer (Harvard). His research is funded by public (NIH) as well as private support.

Holly Brown-Borg

Holly Brown-Borg

Holly Brown-Borg received BS and MS degrees from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a Ph.D. in physiology from North Carolina State University. She completed postdoctoral fellowships as an ARS Research Associate at the USDA Research Center in Nebraska and as a Research Associate in the Department of Physiology at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. Dr. Brown-Borg is currently a Professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Her research interests focus on the role of the endocrine system in aging and life-span as it relates to metabolism, stress resistance, mitochondrial function, and DNA methylation. She is a past President of the American Aging Association, a Fellow of the American Aging Association and the Gerontological Society of America, and a Past-Chair of the Biological Sciences section of the GSA. She has served as the Chair of the Research Committee for the American Federation for Aging Research and serves on the editorial boards of several journals. She has organized several scientific meetings including AGE, GSA (Biological Sciences), Biology of Aging Gordon Research Conference, and currently organizes the International Symposium on Neurobiology and Neuroendocrinology of Aging held biennially in Bregenz, Austria.

Rochelle (Shelley) Buffenstein

Rochelle (Shelley) Buffenstein

Rochelle (Shelley) Buffenstein received her Ph.D. from the University of Cape Town, South Africa. In 2015, she joined Calico, a research and development company specifically focused on understanding the biology of aging and the factors that control lifespan. Prior to that position, she was a Professor at the Sam and Anne Barshop Institute for Aging and Longevity Studies at UTHSCSA. She has also been a professor in the Department of Biology at The City College of New York and spent 10 years at the Medical School of the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa. She is a comparative biologist who pioneered the use of the naked mole-rat as a model of exceptional bio-gerontological interest. Her research strives to determine the molecular mechanisms used in nature to modulate both species lifespan and healthspan. Using a multidisciplinary mechanistic approach, she specifically examines why some mammals, such as mice, age extremely rapidly, exhibiting pronounced declines in all aspects of their biology, and how other species, such as naked mole-rats, bats, and whales can maintain physiological function and disease-free good health for a larger proportion of their long lifespans. Elucidating these mechanisms may lead to therapeutic targets to retard the aging process and delay the onset of age-associated disability and diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Vishwa Deep Dixit

Vishwa Deep Dixit

Vishwa Deep Dixit is a Professor of Comparative Medicine and Immunobiology at the Yale School of Medicine. He did Ph.D. research at University of Hannover, Germany, and postdoctoral research at the NIH. Before joining Yale, he held faculty positions at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge. Dr. Dixit studies immunometabolism with the goal to reveal targets that can be harnessed to improve healthspan. He has discovered that prolongevity hormone FGF21 protects against thymic degeneration and T cell senescence. His lab has helped to define the role of innate immune sensor NLRP3 inflammasome in lipid metabolism, insulin-resistance, type 2 diabetes, age-related inflammation, and immune-senescence. Dr. Dixit identified that ketone metabolite β-hydroxybutyrate serves as a therapeutic target to lower the NLRP3 inflammasome-dependent inflammatory diseases. His work has been published in prominent journals including Nature, Nature Medicine, Nature Immunology, PNAS, JCI, and Cell Metabolism. He has received numerous awards for his research including the Nathan Shock Award from National Institute on Aging, Glenn Award for Aging Research, Nathan Shock Young Investigator Awards from Gerontological Society of America and NIA, and Young Investigator Award from the Endocrine Society. He received Honorary Masters of Arts from Yale University in 2014. The Dixit Laboratory is funded in part by the NIH (NIA, NIAID, NIAMS), Glenn Foundation for Aging Research, and Cure Alzheimer’s Fund.

Brad Johnson

Brad Johnson

Brad Johnson is an associate professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He serves as Assistant Director of the Clinical Immunology Laboratory at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, where his expertise is in transplant-related testing, and as Assistant Director of the Penn Institute on Aging. Dr. Johnson’s laboratory investigates the biology of telomeres, how they are maintained, and how enhancing these natural mechanisms may help ameliorate age-related diseases. He is an editorial board member at Mechanisms of Ageing and DevelopmentFrontiers of Genetics (Aging), and Aging Cell, and is chair of the NIH Cellular Mechanisms of Aging and Development Study Section. Dr. Johnson earned his BS at Yale in 1987, and an MD and a Ph.D. in biochemistry at Stanford University in 1995.

Jay Johnson

Jay Johnson

Jay Johnson received his doctorate in Molecular Biology from Case Western Reserve University, where his thesis work focused on the molecular mechanisms underlying cell division in prokaryotes. His postdoctoral work in the lab of Dr. Dominique Broccoli, at Fox Chase Cancer Center (Philadelphia), used a liposarcoma model system to investigate the maintenance of telomeres, important nucleoprotein structures with roles in aging and cancer. Dr. Johnson then joined the lab of aging researcher Dr. Brad Johnson, at the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia). There, his early published work explored cellular defects in patients with Werner and Bloom’s syndromes, genetic diseases characterized by accelerated aging and cancer predisposition. Dr. Johnson’s current work, as a Senior Scientist at the Orentreich Foundation for the Advancement of Science, focuses on understanding the molecular basis of the longevity-promoting benefits of the dietary intervention methionine restriction. Towards this end, Dr. Johnson makes use of a variety of highly tractable model systems, including S. cerevisiae (baker’s yeast), cultured mouse and human cells, and lab mice. The ultimate aim of his studies is to develop pharmacological interventions that phenocopy methionine restriction and improve human healthspan.

Matt Kaeberlein

Matt Kaeberlein

Matt Kaeberlein is a Professor of Pathology, Adjunct Professor of Genome Sciences, and Adjunct Professor of Oral Health Sciences at the University of Washington. His research focuses on understanding the fundamental mechanisms of aging. His work has been recognized by several prestigious awards, including a Breakthroughs in Gerontology Award from the Glenn Foundation, an Alzheimer’s Association Young Investigator Award, and an Ellison Medical Foundation New Scholar in Aging Award. In 2011, he was named the Vincent Cristofalo Rising Star in Aging Research by the American Federation for Aging Research. His contributions have also been recognized with Fellow status in the American Aging Association (AAA) and the Gerontological Society of America (GSA). Dr. Kaeberlein is a past president of the AAA and has served on their Executive Committee and Board of Directors since 2012. He is also a member of the FASEB Board of Directors and is the Chair-elect of the Biological Sciences Section of the GSA. Dr. Kaeberlein currently serves on the editorial boards of a number of noted journals. His research has been featured by numerous media outlets both nationally and internationally. In addition to his primary appointments, Dr. Kaeberlein served as a Distinguished Visiting Professor of Biochemistry at the Aging Research Institute of Guangdong Medical College in Dongguan, China, from 2009-2014. He is currently the co-Director of the University of Washington Nathan Shock Center of Excellence in the Basic Biology of Aging, the founding Director of the Healthy Aging and Longevity Research Institute at the University of Washington, and founder and co-Director of the Dog Aging Project.

Pankaj Kapahi

Pankaj Kapahi

Pankaj Kapahi is interested in understanding the role of nutrition and energy metabolism in lifespan and disease. The overall goal of his lab is to understand how different tissues orchestrate responses to nutrients to integrate physiological changes that influence health and disease. In his research, Dr. Kapahi looks for clues to longevity.  His work confirms the finding that diet plays a major role in aging and age-related diseases. The Kapahi lab explores molecular mechanisms in a search for strategies to extend healthy lifespan in people. For example, his lab found that a low-protein diet could lengthen the lives of fruit flies, a result that challenged the wisdom of the high-protein Atkins diet for weight loss. He was the first to demonstrate that the TOR pathway (a growth signaling pathway named for the Target of Rapamycin) mediates the effects of dietary restriction. The benefits of dietary restriction are seen across all species; humans share the cellular mechanisms that link diet to longevity in fruit flies. Dr. Kapahi received his Ph.D. from the University of Manchester in England and completed postdoctoral studies at the University of California, San Diego and at the California Institute of Technology. He joined the Buck Institute in 2004. He is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the Ellison Medical Foundation New Scholar Award, the Eureka Award from the NIH, and the Nathan Shock New Investigator Award from the American Gerontological Society.

Robert A. Koza

Robert A. Koza

Robert A. Koza obtained his Ph.D. in Biochemistry at the University of New Hampshire where he studied the role of polyamines in cellular growth and proliferation under the mentorship of the late Dr. Edward J. Herbst. During postdoctoral studies at the Wistar Institute (Philadelphia) and the Lankenau Medical Research Center (Wynnewood, PA) with Dr. Thomas O’Brien, he was involved in investigating the role for polyamines in the development and progression of epidermal carcinogenesis. In 1994, Dr. Koza joined Dr. Leslie P. Kozak at The Jackson Laboratory as a Research Associate and moved with Dr. Kozak’s laboratory to the Pennington Biomedical Research Center (PBRC) as an instructor in 1998. From 1994-2002 Dr. Koza’s research focused on the metabolic mechanisms and genetic regulation of energy expenditure and Ucp1 thermogenesis; in addition, he was involved in establishing and directing the Genomics Core Research Facility at PBRC. In 2002, as an Assistant Professor, Dr. Koza developed a research program to study mechanisms associated with non-genetic variation of metabolic disease that was supported by funding from the NIDDK. In addition to being on the editorial board for the International Journal of Obesity, Dr. Koza has served as an ad hoc reviewer for both NIH/NIDDK and NIEHS review panels and is a standing member of the Cellular Aspects of Diabetes and Obesity Study Section (NIDDK). Dr. Koza joined the Maine Medical Center Research Institute as a Faculty Scientist in 2013 and is an adjunct associate professor at PBRC, Tufts Medical School and a faculty member for the Graduate School of Biomedical Science and Engineering at the University of Maine at Orono.

Sailendra (Nath) Nichenametla

Sailendra (Nath) Nichenametla

Sailendra (Nath) Nichenametla is a Senior Scientist at Orentreich Foundation for the Advancement of Science. He joined the Foundation in 2013 after his postdoctoral training at South Dakota State University, Department of Nutrition, and Hershey Medical College, Department of Public Health Sciences. Prior to this, he completed his undergraduate and graduate training in Veterinary Medicine & Animal Husbandry at the College of Veterinary Science, India, Food Science & Toxicology at University of Idaho, and Integrative Biosciences at Penn State University. During and after his graduate training, he investigated how genetics and environment (food components in particular) affect risk for diseases such as cancer and metabolic syndrome. Currently, he is studying the molecular mechanisms underlying the health benefits induced by dietary restriction of sulfur amino acids methionine and cysteine (SAAR). His current research primarily focuses on understanding how changes in the concentrations of methionine metabolites cysteine and glutathione induce biochemical changes that lead to health benefits. In an effort to understand the translational potential of this intervention, he is also involved in human studies employing the SAAR diet.

Arlan Richardson

Arlan Richardson

Arlan Richardson earned his Ph.D. in chemistry/biochemistry from Oklahoma State University, and for the past 40 years he has devoted his career to aging research. He is currently Professor of Geriatric Medicine and the Donald W. Reynolds Endowed Chair of Aging Research at Oklahoma University Health Science Center and Senior VA Career Scientist at the OKC VA Medical Center. Dr. Richardson has mentored and directed the research of more than 50 Ph.D. graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and junior faculty and is the author of over 260 peer-reviewed scientific publications. His research has focused on various aspects of aging, e.g., the effects of aging and dietary restriction on gene expression in rats and mice; and testing the oxidative stress theory of aging by measuring the effect of alterations in the antioxidant defense system on the lifespan and pathology of transgenic and knockout mice. His group was the first to show dietary altered gene expression at the level of transcription through changes in specific transcription factors. He is currently studying the mechanism responsible for genotype differences in the response of mice to dietary restriction and the potential role DNA methylation might play in the life-extending mechanism of dietary restriction. He has served as president of the Gerontological Society of America (GSA) and the American Aging Association (AAA). Among the honors for his scientific contributions are the GSA’s Robert W. Kleemeier Award, the Lord Cohen Medal for Services to Gerontology from British Society for Research on Ageing, the AAA’s Harman Research Award for research contributions in the field of aging and dietary restriction, and the Irving S. Wright Award of Distinction from the American Federation for Aging Research. In addition, Dr. Richardson served on the Board of Scientific Counselors at the National Institute on Aging from 2002–2007, and he was a member of the National Advisory Council on Aging from 2010–2013.

John Richie

John Richie

John Richie is Professor of Public Health Sciences and Pharmacology at Penn State University College of Medicine in Hershey, PA. For the past 30 years, his research goal has been to understand the link between the biological aging process and the development of aging-related diseases and disorders, including cancer. Using an interdisciplinary research approach, he focuses on the role of oxidative stress, generated both endogenously and from environmental exposures, as a mechanism for enhanced susceptibility during aging. His research has also investigated the impact of both endogenous and dietary antioxidants in protection against oxidative stress and its resulting damage, with the ultimate goal of designing and developing targeted prevention strategies. Dr. Richie received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Louisville in 1985. Prior to joining Penn State College of Medicine, he developed and led a Program on Cancer Susceptibility and Aging at the American Health Foundation (Institute for Cancer Prevention) in Valhalla, NY.

Christian Sell

Christian Sell

Christian Sell obtained his undergraduate training at the State University of New York in Binghamton. He obtained his Ph.D. at the Albany Medical College and postdoctoral training at Temple University and Thomas Jefferson University. He joined the Faculty of the Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1994 as an Assistant Professor. He moved his research to the Lankenau Institute for Medical Research (Wynwood, PA) in 1998 and subsequently joined the faculty of the Drexel University College of Medicine (Philadelphia). His early research work focused on the role of IGF-1 signaling in cancer. He identified the IGF-1 receptor as critical for the transformed phenotype and as an anti-apoptotic factor. This work led to the use of anti-IGF strategies as anticancer therapy and set the stage for multiple clinical studies on the potential for anticancer therapies targeting the IGF-I signaling pathway. The basic biology of aging and cellular senescence has been a research focus in Dr. Sell’s laboratory for a number of years. He has performed studies on the influence of the growth hormone/IGF-1 axis on longevity, the comparative biology of aging, and the lifespan extending properties of rapamycin on human cells. His work has been featured on 60 Minutes and in multiple publications, including Philadelphia Magazine. He has published over 80 articles and book chapters and is the editor of the book, Exceptional Longevity, Single Cell Organisms to Man. Dr. Sell’s work has been cited over 9,000 times in the scientific literature.

Anna Kate Shoveller

Anna Kate Shoveller

Anna Kate Shoveller received her BSc, Honours in Animal Biology from the University of Guelph in 1997 and her Ph.D. in Nutrition and Metabolism from the University of Alberta in 2004. In 2009, Shoveller was selected by the American Society for Nutrition to receive the Peter J. Reeds Memorial Young Investigator Award, recognizing her contributions to the understanding of neonatal sulfur amino acid metabolism and specifically for the changes made in the parenteral feeding industry due to knowledge developed in her Ph.D. Dr. Shoveller served as the provincial equine nutritionist for Alberta Agriculture, Food, & Rural Development prior to joining the University of Guelph as a postdoctoral fellow in companion animal nutrition (2004-2007), where she validated the indicator amino acid oxidation technique to the domestic dog. From 2007-2014 she worked for Procter & Gamble Research & Development, where she was involved in discovery and clinical trials, communicating scientific results and teaching nutrition throughout the organization, developing and executing intellectual property strategy, leading multiple academic collaborations, and mentoring junior technologists. Dr. Shoveller is also the recipient of P&G’s John G. Smale Innovation Award for innovative thinking. She joined the Department of Animal Biosciences at the University of Guelph in 2015 and nowleads a laboratory focused on comparative animal nutrition, specifically on protein and energy metabolism. Dr. Shoveller employs indirect calorimetry and isotope dilutions methodologies across monogastric species and additionally considers behavior outcomes, particularly for her work with dogs, cats, and horses. In addition to her research, teaches Companion and Equine Nutrition, serves on the University Senate, and is a scientific reviewer for the Animal Care and Utilization Committee. Dr. Shoveller has published over 50 scientific articles, contributed to books, and is a co-inventor on a number of patents.

Yousin Suh

Yousin Suh

Yousin Suh is a Professor of Genetics and Medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. She investigates the (epi)genetic component that underlies the interface of intrinsic aging and disease. The approach she follows is based on the identification of (epi)genome sequence variants associated with age-related disease risk or its opposite, i.e., an unusual resistance to such disease. For this purpose her target populations are either cohorts of middle-aged individuals followed longitudinally for signs of all major age-related diseases, or cohorts of extremely long-lived individuals who managed to ward off such diseases. To tackle the key problem of identifying the functional impact of any observed association, she applies specific functional tests, including in silico modeling, cell culture assays, and mouse models. Discoveries thus far include novel, rare alleles associated with extreme longevity; sirtuin variants that confer risk for heart disease; longevity-associated miRNAs; and epigenetic signatures of cellular senescence. Her contributions in the field have been recognized by the Glenn Award for Research in Biological Mechanisms of Aging. She has organized numerous international symposia on functional genomics of aging, is on the Editorial Boards of numerous journals, and participates in advisory committees for several research institutions and companies.

Jessica Tyler

Jessica Tyler

Jessica Tyler pursued her Ph.D. at the Medical Research Council Virology Unit in Glasgow, Scotland. In 2000, after completing a post-doctoral fellowship in Epigenetics in the laboratory of Dr. James Kadonaga at the University of California San Diego, she started an independent laboratory as Assistant Professor in the University of Colorado School of Medicine Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics. Following her identification of the key chromatin assembly factor Anti-silencing Function 1, her laboratory showed that chromatin assembly and disassembly not only accompanies DNA replication, but also occurs during and regulates gene expression, DNA repair, the DNA damage response, and aging. Her lab continues to delineate the molecular mechanisms of how chromatin assembly and disassembly regulates these key processes and their dysfunction in disease. Their hypothesis-driven research uses a variety of approaches, combining molecular genetics in budding yeast and flies with tissue culture, genomics, biochemistry, and structural biology. Although research is her priority, Dr. Tyler is committed to education, directing several graduate courses and a graduate program, and winning multiple teaching and mentorship awards. She has been particularly involved in facilitating the success women. Dr. Tyler’s achievements in research and the advancement of women in science were recognized by the AACR-Women in Cancer Charlotte Friend memorial lectureship in 2009. She was promoted to full Professor in the same year. As a Program Leader in the NCI designated Cancer Center at the University of Colorado, she built and led their flagship Program in Molecular Carcinogenesis. Dr. Tyler moved in 2010 to the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (Houston), having been recruited as a Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas Rising Star. There, she co-directed the Center for Cancer Epigenetics and held the Edward Rotan Distinguished Professorship in Cancer Research. In 2015, Dr. Tyler moved her lab to the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine where she runs a joint laboratory with her partner Barry Sleckman. Dr. Tyler serves on the editorial board of multiple journals and is a Senior Editor of eLIFE.