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2015 Speakers | OFAS

Symposium 2015

Symposium 2015: Diet, Sulfur Amino Acids, and Healthspan

September 20–22, 2015, Tarrytown, NY

Caleb Finch - Keynote Speaker

Caleb Finch - Keynote Speaker

Caleb Finch is ARCO Professor of Gerontology and Biological Sciences at the University of Southern California, with adjunct appointments in the Dept of Anthropology, Molecular Biology, Neurobiology, Psychology, Physiology, and Neurology. Major research interest is the neurobiology of aging and human evolution. Finch received his undergraduate degree from Yale in 1961 (Biophysics) and PhD from Rockefeller University in 1969 (Biology). His life work is the fundamental biology of human aging, started in grad school and continued since 1972 at USC. Discoveries include a new form of neurotoxicity of amyloid peptides relevant to Alzheimer disease and the role of shared inflammatory pathways in normal and pathological aging process. Fifteen of his mentored students hold senior positions in universities or pharmaceutical corporations. Finch has received most of the major awards in biomedical gerontology, including the Robert W. Kleemeier Award (1985), the Sandoz Premier Prize (1995), and the Irving Wright Award (1999). He was founding Director of the NIA-funded USC Alzheimer Disease Research Center (1984), and continues as coDirector and coPI. He also co-founded Acumen Pharmaceuticals, which develops therapeutics for Alzheimer disease. He has written four books, most recently, The Biology of Human Longevity: Inflammation and Nutrition in the Evolution of Lifespans (Academic Press, 2007). Recent interests include the paleopathology of human aging and emerging environmental factors in aging, particularly air pollution components from fossil fuels.

Gene Ables

Gene Ables

Gene Ables received his degree of Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of the Philippines and then obtained his PhD from Hokkaido University (Japan). His post-doctoral research in Preventive Medicine and Nutrition at Columbia University focused on liver lipid metabolism. In 2006, he was appointed Associate Research Scientist at the Columbia University Medical Center. Dr. Ables joined OFAS in April 2011 as a Senior Scientist. His project focus on the effects of methionine restriction (MR) in the heart, bones, kidneys, and adipose tissue. He also aims to identify the roles of FGF21 and CBS in MR mice. Recently appointed Associate Science Director, he leads investigations of the methionine-restricted diet’s effects on metabolism, cancer, and epigenetics.

Sean Adams

Sean Adams

Sean Adams is Professor and Chief, Developmental Nutrition Section in the Department of Pediatrics at University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, and is the Director of the Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Biology from California State University, Fresno, followed by a Master’s in Marine Sciences from UC Santa Cruz. He completed his PhD in Nutritional Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. After his postdoctoral training at the University of Barcelona and UT Southwestern Medical School, Dr. Adams was a research scientist in biopharma for over 7 years. Before coming to Little Rock, he was an Associate Adjunct Professor in Nutrition at UC Davis and led the Obesity and Metabolism Research Unit of the USDA–Agricultural Research Service Western Human Nutrition Center in Davis, CA. His research aims to prevent metabolic disorders such as diabetes, determine how specific foods and physical activity modify disease risk, and identify molecular biomarkers reflective of a healthy or disordered metabolism.

Holly Brown-Borg

Holly Brown-Borg

Holly Brown-Borg received BS and MS degrees from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a PhD 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 moved through the ranks to Professor in the Department of Pharmacology, Physiology, and Therapeutics at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences. She is a Past-President of the American Aging Association and a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America. She has organized several scientific meetings including AGE, GSA (Biological Sciences), and Biology of Aging Gordon Research Conference. She currently organizes the biennial International Symposium on Neurobiology and Neuroendocrinology of Aging held in Bregenz, Austria. Her research interests focus on the role of the endocrine system in aging and lifespan as it relates to metabolism, stress resistance, mitochondrial function, and DNA methylation.

Rochelle Buffenstein

Rochelle Buffenstein

Rochelle (Shelley) Buffenstein recently 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 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.

Maria E. Figueiredo-Pereira

Maria E. Figueiredo-Pereira

Maria E. Figueiredo-Pereira is originally from Portugal and received her PhD in Biology from New York University in 1985. She then spent two years as a post-doctoral fellow at the Population Council/Rockefeller University (NYC) in the lab of Dr. Mario Ascoli where she studied the role of PKA in steroidogenesis. In 1987 she moved to Mount Sinai Medical School (MSSM) in NYC as a post-doctoral fellow in Dr. Sherwin Wilk’s lab in the Department of Pharmacology. She headed her own lab at MSSM from 1990-97. Her studies focused on characterizing the biochemical properties of the 20S proteasome and its inhibitors. In 1998, Dr. Figueiredo-Pereira joined the Department of Biological Sciences at Hunter College, City University of New York, as an Associate Professor and became a tenured Full Professor in 2007. Dr. Figueiredo-Pereira has been working/publishing in the field of neural dysfunction since 1994. Her lab has conducted more than 25 years of studies on the ubiquitin/proteasome pathway and other proteolytic systems, and her research has garnered financial support from both the NIH and the Michael J. Fox Foundation. Her expertise is on neuroinflammation and on the ubiquitin/proteasome pathway, its regulation by cAMP, and its role in neurodegeneration. She is currently investigating how impairment of the ubiquitin/proteasome pathway and its regulatory mechanisms lead to neurodegeneration involved in disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Vadim Gladyshev

Vadim Gladyshev

Vadim Gladyshev attended Moscow State University (Russia), receiving his BS/MS degree in 1988 and PhD degree in 1992. This was followed by postdoc training at NIH and a faculty position at University of Nebraska. Since 2009, he has been a Professor of Medicine and Director of the Center for Redox Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and an Associate Member of the Broad Institute. Dr. Gladyshev has been working in the areas of selenium and redox biology as applied to aging and cancer. He has a long-term interest in the understanding of aging, functions of trace elements, and mechanisms of redox control involving methionine and cysteine. Dr. Gladyshev was elected as an AAAS fellow and is a recipient of the NIH Director’s Pioneer Award.

Tsang-hai Huang

Tsang-hai Huang

Tsang-hai Huang completed his PhD in exercise science from National Taiwan Normal University in 2001. He then pursued a postdoctoral fellowship in bone biology with an emphasis on the effects of ultrasound in bone cells at National Taiwan University Hospital (2001-2). As a visiting postdoctoral fellow in Jack Lewis’s Lab at the University of Minnesota (2002-3), he studied the methodology of material properties of cartilage using a nano-indentation system. He has been on the faculty of National Cheng Kung University (Taiwan) since 2003; there, he has organized a laboratory with expertise in animal studies looking at the effects of endurance exercise and nutritional interventions on bone health. Preliminary findings of his recent studies suggest that smaller bones resulting from dietary restrictions (e.g., caloric and methionine) and endurance exercise is likely a structural shift of bone size without compromised bone material properties. He has recently begun considering the evaluation of bone health from an anthropology-like viewpoint. Putting his research ideas into his own life, Dr. Huang is an amateur triathlete and a lover of the vegetarian diet.

Joseph Kemnitz

Joseph Kemnitz

Joseph Kemnitz received both undergraduate and doctoral degrees from the University of Wisconsin. He is now professor of Cell and Regenerative Biology in the School of Medicine and Public Health at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is director emeritus of the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center and former director for translational technologies and resources in the Institute for Clinical and Translational Research. His research has focused on nutritional issues across the lifespan in nonhuman primates. For more than 25 years, he has been studying the effects of moderate caloric restriction on healthspan and lifespan of rhesus macaques.

Robert Koza

Robert Koza

Robert Koza obtained his PhD in Biochemistry at the University of New Hampshire (1989) 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 subsequently moved with Dr. Kozak’s laboratory to the Pennington Biomedical Research Center (PBRC; Louisiana State University System) as an Instructor in 1998. During this time, Dr. Koza’s research focused on metabolic mechanisms of energy expenditure and Ucp1 thermogenesis, and he was involved in establishing and directing the Genomics Core Research Facility at PBRC. In 2002, as an Assistant Professor at PBRC, Dr. Koza developed a research program to study mechanisms associated with non-genetic variation of metabolic disease and is currently funded for these studies by the NIH/NIDDK. Dr. Koza has served on several NIH review panels and is a member of the Cellular Aspects of Diabetes and Obesity Study Section at the NIH/NIDDK. Dr. Koza joined the Maine Medical Center Research Institute (Scarborough, ME) as a Faculty Scientist in 2013 and continues as an adjunct associate professor at PBRC.

Warren Kruger

Warren Kruger

Warren Kruger graduated magna cum laude from Cornell University, received his PhD in Biochemistry from the University of California, and was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Genetics at Stanford University. He is currently a full professor in the Cancer Biology program at Fox Chase Cancer Center, where he has been since 1995. He has published more than 70 peer-reviewed papers, been an invited speaker at numerous international conferences, and has obtained research grants from a wide variety of sources, including the NIH, Department of Defense, American Cancer Society, and American Heart Association. His lab focuses on the study of sulfur amino acid metabolism and its relationship to human health and disease.

Jason W. Locasale

Jason W. Locasale

Jason W. Locasale is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University. He graduated summa cum laude from Rutgers University with a dual degree in Chemistry and Physics. He received his PhD in Biological Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He then studied cancer metabolism at Harvard Medical School where he worked as an American Cancer Society postdoctoral fellow and later as an Instructor on the faculty. Dr. Locasale’s research focuses on understanding metabolism in cell growth, cancer pathogenesis, and therapeutic intervention. He has defined the mechanistic principles that lead to the Warburg Effect—the observation that tumor cells process glucose through fermentation even when oxygen is abundant for respiration—and is now investigating its downstream consequences on cellular physiology, translating this knowledge to develop biomarkers of agents that affect glucose metabolism in cancer. His work on utilizing glucose-metabolizing cancer cells has led him to study the interplay between metabolism, signal transduction, and epigenetics. At the core of this effort lies the utilization of computational modeling and mass spectrometry-based metabolomics. Dr. Locasale is a recipient of the NIH Pathway to Independence Award, International Life Sciences Future Leader Award, and the Benjamin Trump Award for Excellence in Cancer Research from the Aspen Cancer Society, and was nominated as a visiting professor at the Epply Institute for Cancer Resarch. He has co-authored numerous textbooks and patents.

James Mitchell

James Mitchell

James Mitchell graduated from the University of Virginia in 1993. After this, he worked on DNA replication in yeast as a technician in Dr. Bruce Stillman’s lab at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. He then moved to California to do his graduate studies at the University of California, Berkeley, where he worked on human telomerase ribonucleoprotein structure and function in the lab of Dr. Kathleen Collins. There, he helped to identify the aplastic anemia syndrome dyskeratosis congenita as the first recognized telomere maintenance disorder, or telomeropathy. Dr. Mitchell completed his postdoctoral studies in Rotterdam (the Netherlands) in Prof. Jan Hoeijmakers’ lab, where he worked on premature aging in a DNA repair-deficient mouse model of the segmental progeria Cockayne syndrome. He found that these mice, although short-lived, display many key adaptive metabolic and physiologic features of dietary restriction, an intervention best known for extending lifespan in organisms as diverse as roundworms, fruit flies, and rodents. These studies sparked his interest in the benefits of dietary restriction and its potential translation to the clinic. Dr. Mitchell started his own lab at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston in 2008, where the main focus remains on the use of dietary restriction to protect against acute inflammatory stressors ranging from ischemia reperfusion injury to metabolic syndrome to experimental rodent malaria.

James M Mullin

James M Mullin

James M. Mullin received his BS degree in Biology from St. Joseph’s University (Philadelphia) in 1976. His PhD in Physiology was awarded from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in 1980. A postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Human Genetics, Yale University (1982-84), was followed by a Research Associate position at the Wistar Institute (Philadelphia). In 1986, Dr. Mullin joined the Lankenau Institute for Medical Research (Wynnewood, PA). He is currently also the Director of Research, Division of Gastroenterology, Lankenau Medical Center, and Professor, Kimmel Cancer Center, Thomas Jefferson University Medical School. Dr. Mullin has authored over 80 research publications and reviews on the regulation of epithelial transport processes, tight junctions, and epithelial barrier function. His current research interests focus on the role of epithelial barrier compromise in various gastrointestinal diseases and the regulation/enhancement of epithelial barrier function by various micronutrients and nutraceuticals. Ongoing research projects by his group encompass studies on HIV, Ebola, aging, Barrett’s esophagus, Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn’s Disease, and colorectal cancer. The Mullin research group utilizes epithelial cell culture models, animal tissue models, and patient-based studies in their research. Through the Mullin group, Lankenau Institute for Medical Research is the holder of numerous patents on micronutrients and epithelial barrier function in a variety of gastrointestinal diseases.

Arlan Richardson

Arlan Richardson

Arlan Richardson earned his PhD in biochemistry from Oklahoma State University and has devoted the past 40 years to aging research. He is the Founding Director of the Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and is currently Director of the Oklahoma Nathan Shock Aging Center at the University of Oklahoma Health Science Center. He also holds the appointment of Senior Career Research Scientist with the Oklahoma City VA Medical Center. Dr. Richardson’s laboratory is a major contributor in studying the role of gene expression in aging, showing for the first time that caloric restriction alters gene expression at the level of transcription, and that these changes in gene expression enhance the ability of animals to respond to stress. Dr. Richardson’s group has developed novel genetically-modified mouse models to study the roles of oxidative stress and damage in aging and age-related diseases, such as cancer, neurodegeneration, and diabetes. His current research focuses on experiments into the role of rapamycin on aging. His leadership roles include serving as president of both the Gerontological Society of America (GSA) and the American Aging Association. Among his honors are the GSA’s Robert W. Kleemeier Award, the Lord Cohen Medal for Services to Gerontology from British Society for Research on Ageing, the Harman Research Award for research contributions in the field of aging and dietary restriction from the American Aging Association, and the Irving S. Wright Award of Distinction from the American Federation for Aging Research. The NIA has honored his research with the highly competitive MERIT award. He currently holds the Donald W. Reynolds Endowed Chair of Aging Research.

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 has focused 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 PhD 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.

George Roth

George Roth

George S. Roth was formally affiliated with the National Institute on Aging from 1972-2004 and currently continues collaboration in an advisory capacity. After receiving a BS in Biology from Villanova University (1968) and a PhD in Microbiology from Temple University School of Medicine (1971), and post-doctoral work with Dr. Richard Adelman at the Fels Research Institute, he progressed from Staff fellow, to Research Chemist, to Chief of the Molecular Physiology and Genetics Section, to Acting Chief of the Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Biology. Dr. Roth then served as Senior Guest Scientist at NIA from 2000-04, and became CEO of GeroScience Inc. He also served as Co-executive Director of the American Aging Association from 2002-03. His research interests continue to be basic mechanisms of aging; has worked in the area of signal transduction for many years, he now focuses on anti-aging strategies. The most visible projects in this area have been an examination of the effects of dietary caloric restriction in nonhuman primates and, more recently, the development of caloric restriction mimetics. Dr. Roth has received a number of honors and awards. These include the Sandoz (now Novartis) Prize for Gerontological Research, the Research Award of the American Aging Association, Chair of the Gordon Conference on the Biology of Aging, Chair of the Biological Sciences Section of the Gerontological Society of America, the Merit Award and Equal Employment Opportunity Award of the NIA, and the Third Age Award of the Intl. Assoc. of Gerontology. In addition, he has been the Sigma Xi Scholar in Residence at Miami University, an NIH Visiting Professor at Meharry Medical College and the University of Puerto Rico Medical School, as well as Alpha Omega Alpha Professor at the University of Puerto Rico, the Ben Cohen Memorial Lecturer at the University of Michigan, Keynote Lecturer at the Nagoya International Symposium on Aging and Health, the Israel Endocrine Society, and the Orentriech Foundation for the Advancement of Science Symposium. Dr. Roth has been granted numerous patents in the caloric restriction mimetic area.

Jacob Selhub

Jacob Selhub

Jacob Selhub is a senior scientist and Director of the Vitamin Metabolism Research Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging and a professor in the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. He received a BS in Agriculture at Hebrew University & Rehovot in Israel and a PhD in Biochemistry (Major) and Organic Chemistry and Microbiology (Minor) at Case Western Reserve University. He is a nutritional biochemist with expertise in folic acid and other B vitamins. His early work dealt with the metabolism, intestinal absorption, and physiology of folic acid and biological folate. In 1987, he used his basic science work as platform to study the epidemiological associations between one-carbon nutrients, homocysteine, and health outcomes in the aging population. His collaboration with other investigators made him realize that many diseases, including cancers, cardiovascular disease, and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are associated with low plasma pyridoxal-5’ phosphate (PLP), the active form of vitamin B independent of homocysteine. His studies suggesting the existence of potential interaction between excessive folate intake and low vitamin B12 status that could adversely affect health and biochemical outcome in the elderly prompted exploration of possible mechanisms and whether excessive folic intake per se is potentially detrimental. Dr. Selhub is now collaborating with investigators in the Cardiovascular Inflammation Reduction Trial at Brigham and Women’s Hospital to study the role of methotrexate as an anti-inflammatory agent in patients with cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome.

Martha Stipanuk

Martha Stipanuk

Martha Harney Stipanuk is the James Jamison Professor in Nutrition in the Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University, where she has been a faculty member since 1977. She received her BS from the University of Kentucky, her MS from Cornell University, and her PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Stipanuk’s research focuses on the study of amino acid metabolism, particularly the metabolism of the sulfur-containing amino acid cysteine. Her work played a major role in elucidating the intermediary pathways of cysteine metabolism in mammalian cells, as well as the regulation of these pathways. Her research on cysteine dioxygenase, an iron-dependent enzyme that catalyzes the first step in the dominant pathway for cysteine disposal, involved approaches ranging from solving crystal structures to knockout mouse models. More recently, the Stipanuk laboratory has investigated cellular responses to amino acid deficiency, which has provided insights into potentially unique roles of methionine. Dr. Stipanuk also has a long-standing interest in teaching in the area of macronutrient metabolism. She is currently working on a 4th edition of her textbook Biochemical, Physiological, and Molecular Aspects of Human Nutrition (Saunders/Elsevier).

Suresh Tyagi

Suresh Tyagi

Suresh C. Tyagi received his PhD from the University of Aligarh (India) in 1980 and began his research career as a biophysical scientist during his graduate and post-graduate training in India and Ireland. He explored the dynamics of molecular biology of metalloproteinase homeostasis in cardiovascular remodeling in several post-doctoral fellowships (1984-1991). He was an assistant professor of medicine and biochemistry at the University of Missouri-Columbia (1992-6) and associate professor (1998-2003) at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Currently, he is Professor of Physiology & Biophysics at the University of Louisville and holds the Stodghill Endowed Chair in Biomedical Sciences. Dr. Tyagi has consistently pursued a research program aimed at elucidating the role of metalloproteinase in cardiovascular disease and stroke. His work has impacted the view of metalloproteinase in cardiovascular remodeling and dysfunction. His research has great significance for many diseases, especially heart failure, Alzheimer’s disease, renal disease, Types 1 and 2 diabetes, and hypertension. Currently, he is a regular member of the NIH-MIM study section and is supported by four NIH-RO1 grants to study the homocysteine homeostasis and matrix remodeling in cardiovascular and cerebral vascular diseases.