2019 Symposium on Healthy Aging
October 16-18, Mohonk Mountain House
Ana Maria Cuervo, MD, Ph.D. - Keynote Speaker
Dr Cuervo is Co-Director of the Einstein Institute for Aging Research. Her laboratory at Albert Einstein College of Medicine studies the role of protein degradation in aging and age-related disorders, with emphasis in neurodegeneration. Dr Cuervo’s group is interested in understanding how altered proteins can be eliminated from the cells. Her group has linked alterations in lysosomal protein degradation (autophagy) with different neurodegenerative diseases including Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and Huntington’s disease. They have also proven that restoration of normal lysosomal function prevents accumulation of damaged proteins with age, demonstrating this way that removal of these toxic products is possible.
Dr Cuervo is considered a leader in the field of protein degradation in relation to biology of aging and has been invited to present her work in numerous national and international institutions. Dr Cuervo has been the recipient of prestigious awards such as the P. Benson Award, Keith Porter Fellow, Nathan Shock Memorial Award, Vincent Cristofalo Award in Aging, Bennett J. Cohen, Marshall Horwitz Prize and the Saul Korey Prize in Translational Medicine. She has delivered prominent lectures such as the Robert R. Konh, the NIH Director’s, the Roy Walford, the Feodor Lynen, the Margaret Pittman, the IUBMB, the David H. Murdock, the Gerry Aurbach and the SEBBM L’Oreal-UNESCO for Women in Science, and the Harvey Lecture. Dr Cuervo has been included in the 2018 Highly Cited Researchers List (ranking of top 1% cited researchers). She has been member of the NIA Scientific Council, NIH Council of Councils, NIA Board of Scientific Counselors and of the Advisory Committee to the NIH Deputy Director. In 2015 she was elected International Academic of the Royal Academy of Medicine of the Valencia Community and in 2017, member of the Real Academia de Ciencias Exactas, Fisicas y Naturales and in 2018 member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She was elected member of the National Academy of Sciences in 2019.
Recipient of the first Norman Orentreich Award for Young Investigator on Aging, presented at the 14th International Symposium on Neurobiology and Neuroendocrinology of Aging, August 2018, Bregenz, Austria
“Everything is possible except for sleeping on the celling” is a phrase that I believe best describes the way I choose to see life.
I was born in August 1992 in Craiova (Romania). When I was seven my grandfather took me to a tennis match. We sat there in silence for a few minutes, watching people play. I was absolutely fascinated and right then and there my grandfather, absolutely fascinated by the fact that I was quiet, asked me: “Will you give it a shot?” Yes, I will, was my joyful answer.
Ten years later I was traveling, playing professional tennis, winning and losing tournaments, making rivals—but more importantly meeting amazing people.
In 2010, during summer, I met a surgeon that used to play tennis with me. He had the most incredible stories; surely, some of them had to be made up. So one day I found the courage to ask him if he could show me what being a doctor is actually like. The following week I was in the operation theater, watching a team of doctors perform surgery. I was absolutely fascinated and quiet. Once again, the same question was facing me: “Will you give it a shot?” Yes, I will.
And in 2011, full of enthusiasm and dreams, I was admitted to the University of Medicine and Pharmacy of Craiova. In my second student year, during a medical conference I was attending, I met a person who would later shape my professional and my personal life, Prof. Aurel Popa Wagner. After an amazing discussion, he offered me the chance to see and understand what working in a laboratory is actually like. The following week I entered the research laboratory he coordinated and had my first encounter with lab animals. I was immediately hooked. For four years, thanks to the amazing dedication of my peers, I took part in some of the most amazing research projects. Performing behavioral tests and stroke-inducing operations on laboratory animals, perfusing, slicing brain tissue, performing immunohistochemistry—these were among skills that I had the chance to learn and to perfect, keeping in mind that better results always go hand in hand with better skills. More importantly, I learned a new skill, a skill that you don’t always get to exercise in tennis: jumping the net and working together with people, as part of a team, for a common, greater goal. A truly valuable lesson that I immensely cherish nowadays.
I loved it, therefore, when after I graduated University in 2017, after four amazing years in the lab, my professor offered me the chance to start my Ph.D. in Neurosciences. I immediately gave it a shot and started working in the Department of Functional Sciences, Center of Clinical and Experimental Medicine at the University of Medicine and Pharmacy of Craiova. Together with my colleagues, we continued to participate in a number of projects related to stroke therapy and healthy aging, all coordinated by our Professor. My work was starting to show its results, and I took part in a number of international publications, won several prizes at national and international medical conferences, and, more importantly, managed to find the thing truly makes me tick, all thanks to the dedication and trust that a few people offered me.
What is more, in 2017, I also passed my Residency exam. Starting first in a different medical domain, I now occupy a position as a Psychiatry Resident Doctor at the Neuropsychiatry Hospital in Craiova. A medical branch that offers me the chance to combine my passion for research with my love and fascination for clinical medicine and, more importantly, for people.
I chose to write my biography as a short story with the strong belief that a number of different chapters are still being written, and with the strong belief that work and dedication, curiosity and passion, together with a bit of chance, will always leave you in the same spot: being quiet, fascinated, and facing the question that has shaped my entire life. “Will you give it a shot?”
Tracy G. Anthony
Tracy G. Anthony is a Professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at Rutgers University. Dr Anthony received a BS in Human Nutrition and Foods from Virginia Tech, and received the MS and Ph.D. degrees in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Illinois. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship in molecular physiology at the Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, PA and then directed an independent research program at the Indiana University School of Medicine until her arrival to Rutgers in 2012. Her research program at Rutgers explores cellular responses to nutrition and exercise, and her lab utilizes animal models to explore mechanisms of protein homeostasis with applications toward improving metabolism, reducing disease, and increasing healthspan. She has published over 100 scholarly works (62 listed on PubMed) and her research is funded by the National Institutes of Health and the United States Department of Agriculture. She served as a Standing Member of the Integrative Nutrition and Metabolic Processes (INMP) Study Section at NIH and currently serves on the editorial boards for Advances in Nutrition, American Journal of Physiology–Endocrinology and Metabolism, Annual Review of Nutrition, and Journal of Biological Chemistry. Dr Anthony participates in NIH and Rutgers-sponsored programs that facilitate research experiences for underserved populations, and promote effective mentorship and career planning at the graduate and postdoctoral levels. As PI she has directly mentored research faculty, postdoctoral scholars, and graduate students, and hosted many undergraduate and high school students in the lab. She also teaches at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Dr Anthony has won several awards including the American Society for Nutrition Peter J. Reeds Young Investigator Award for recognition of research that focuses on the regulation of somatic growth and the unique roles of amino acids in protein metabolism.
Sebastian Brandhorst’s scientific training is based on a vast background in cell biology, molecular biology, medicine, and biochemistry, all of which are highly relevant for his focus on biogerontology research to identify the mechanisms underlying cellular protection, as well as health- and lifespan-regulation, and their translation into clinical applications. He has performed research related to aging in yeast and C. elegans since 2009, after which he began to utilize mouse models to study the role of growth hormone/IGF-1 signaling as a major regulatory pathway that modulates lifespan and age-associated diseases/pathologies, particularly cancer. Subsequently, he focused on the role and application of short-term starvation, low calorie and/or low protein diets, so called fasting-mimicking diets, and on health- and lifespan in preclinical to clinical studies.
Veronica Galvan is an Associate Professor of Cellular and Integrative Physiology at the Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Research at the University of Texas Health San Antonio. Dr Galvan studies the molecular processes that lead to dementia in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and other neurological disorders of aging. Her work aims to define (1) the links between aging and AD; (2) how cellular senescence contributes to AD etiology; and (3) how the accumulation of soluble pathogenic forms of tau protein in brain microvasculature leads to cerebrovascular dysfunction in aging and AD. To answer these questions, Dr Galvan uses rodent models of aging and of AD in combination with advanced in vivo optical and functional brain imaging approaches, primary culture-based systems, single-cell analyses, and neurobehavioral tools. Another interest of the Galvan Lab is to establish the common marmoset as a non-human primate model of cognitive aging and Alzheimer’s disease.
Vera Gorbunova is an endowed Professor of Biology at the University of Rochester and a co-director of the Rochester Aging Research Center. Her research is focused on understanding the mechanisms of longevity and genome stability and on the study of exceptionally long-lived mammals. Dr Gorbunova earned her B.Sc. degrees at Saint Petersburg State University, Russia and her Ph.D. at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel. Dr Gorbunova pioneered a comparative biology approach to study aging and identified rules that control evolution of tumor suppressor mechanisms depending on species lifespan and body mass. Dr Gorbunova also investigates the role of Sirtuin proteins in maintaining genome stability. More recently, the focus of her research has been on the longest-lived rodent species: the naked mole rat and the blind mole rat. Dr Gorbunova identified high molecular weight hyaluronan as the key mediator of cancer-resistance in the naked mole rat. Her work received awards of from the Ellison Medical Foundation, the Glenn Foundation, American Federation for Aging Research, and from the National Institutes of Health. Her work was awarded the Cozzarelli Prize from PNAS, prize for research on aging from ADPS/Alianz, France, Prince Hitachi Prize in Comparative Oncology, Japan, and Davey prize from Wilmot Cancer Center.
Derek Huffman is an Associate Professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Departments of Molecular Pharmacology and Medicine, and Member of the NIH-funded Einstein Diabetes, Aging, and Cancer Centers, Colon Cancer Biology Program, and New York Obesity Nutrition Research Center. He also serves as Co-Director of the Chronobiosis and Energetics/Metabolism of Aging Core in the Einstein Nathan Shock Center, which provides surgical, metabolic, and cognitive/behavioral consultation to investigators, including parabiosis. Dr Huffman received his training in human and small animal energetics and cancer at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and his postdoctoral training in endocrinology and aging in the lab of Nir Barzilai, MD, at Einstein. He is a former K99/R00 awardee and is currently supported by a P30, R01 and R21 from NIA. Current interests of the lab include: 1) the role of endocrine and metabolic factors in aging and disease; 2) the role of circulating factors in regulation of age-related phenotypes, including intestine; and 3) characterizing physiologic resilience in aging mice.
Thomas Jeitner is originally from Australia where he trained in biophysics and experimental biology. His postdoctoral training focused the role of bleaching compounds in disease, as well as the role of various enzymes that act on either glutamate, glutamine, or glutaminyl residues in the evolution of pathological states. These topics continue inform his research efforts. His current interests include elucidating a new role for neutrophil-derived hypohalous acids in promoting neovascularization in response to ischemic injury, and investigating the metabolic changes that accompany the development of prostate cancer.
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. There, his early published work explored cellular defects in patients with Werner’s 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.
Brian Kennedy is internationally recognized for his research in the basic biology of aging and as a visionary committed to translating research discoveries into new ways of delaying, detecting, and preventing human aging and associated diseases. He is a Professor in the Departments of Biochemistry and Physiology at National University Singapore and Director of the Centre for Healthy Ageing in the National University Health System. From 2010 to 2016 he was the President and CEO of the Buck Institute for Research on Aging. Currently he remains as a Professor at the Institute. Dr. Kennedy also has an adjunct appointment at the USC Davis School of Gerontology. Dr. Kennedy is also actively involved Biotechnology companies, serving in consulting and Board capacities, as well as Scientific Director of Affirmativ Health. Dr. Kennedy also serves as a Co-Editor-in-Chief at Aging Cell.
Caroline Kumsta is a Research Assistant Professor in the Development, Aging and Regeneration Program at the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute in La Jolla, California. She received her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the Technical University of Munich, Germany, but conducted her doctoral research at the University of Michigan with Dr Ursula Jakob. Dr Kumsta was in postdoctoral training with Dr Malene Hansen at the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute. Dr Kumsta’s research focuses on probing hormetic mechanisms that improve longevity and proteostasis in C. elegans. Dr Kumsta discovered that autophagy is required for the beneficial effects of hormetic heat shock and that heat shock-induced autophagy improves proteostasis in Huntington’s disease models in C. elegans. Her recent work discovered that overexpression of the selective autophagy receptor p62/SQST-1 can increase lifespan and induce autophagy with benefits on proteostasis in C. elegans. These studies not only contribute to our understanding of selective autophagy upon heat stress and its role in aging and proteostasis but also constitute the first step in revealing the identity of specific and potentially cytotoxic cargos relevant to aging and age-related diseases.
Lucy Liaw is a Faculty Scientist at Maine Medical Center Research Institute (MMCRI). She leads a basic and translational research program focused on signaling in cardiometabolic disease, and a Center of Biomedical Research Excellence in Metabolic Networks. She has maintained an externally funded research laboratory for over 20 years, and serves on diverse review panels and committees for the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute of NIH and the American Heart Association. She has academic appointments at the University of Maine (Graduate School of Biomedical Science and Engineering), Tufts University School of Medicine (Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences), and University of Southern Maine (Department of Biological Sciences). She received her Ph.D. in Pathology/Biological Structure at the University of Washington, and received postdoctoral training in Cell Biology and Cardiology at Vanderbilt University prior to starting her independent research program at MMCRI. Her laboratory focuses on the molecular interactions between blood vessels and surrounding perivascular adipose tissue that may determine susceptibility to vascular disease. She also has a passion for research training and education, and enjoys mentoring students and early career investigators.
Richard A. Miller
Richard A. Miller is a Professor of Pathology at the University of Michigan. He received the BA degree in 1971 from Haverford College, and MD and Ph.D. degrees from Yale University in 1976-1977. After postdoctoral studies at Harvard and Sloan-Kettering, he moved to Boston University in 1982 and then to his current position at Michigan in 1990. Dr Miller has served in a variety of editorial and advisory positions on behalf of the American Federation for Aging Research and the National Institute on Aging, and served as one of the Editors-in-Chief of Aging Cell. He has received a variety of awards for his research, including the Nathan Shock Award, the Irving Wright Award, and the Kleemeier Award. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and was elected to the Association of American Physicians. At Michigan, he directs the Paul Glenn Center for Biology of Aging Research. His research program includes ongoing studies of the mechanisms that link stress, nutrients, and hormones to delayed aging in mice; development of new approaches to slow aging and disease through drugs, early life dietary restriction, and targeted mutations; and studies of the ways in which cells from long-lived birds, rodents, and primates differ from those of short-lived species.
John Newman is Assistant Professor at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging and in the Division of Geriatrics at University of California San Francisco (UCSF). His career goal is to translate our expanding understanding of aging biology to improve the care of and to maintain the independence of older adults. His research at the Buck Institute studies the molecular details of how diet and fasting regulate the genes and pathways that in turn control mechanisms of aging, focusing on the ketone body β-hydroxybutyrate. Dr Newman is a pioneer in understanding the molecular signaling activities of ketone bodies, such as in regulating epigenetics and inflammation, and was the first to show that a ketogenic diet can extend healthy lifespan and improve memory in aging mice. His work has been published in Cell Metabolism, Science, Annual Reviews of Nutrition, and other journals. Dr Newman is also a geriatrician who cares for hospitalized older adults at UCSF and the San Francisco VA Medical Center, focusing on preserving mobility and preventing delirium. He completed an MD/Ph.D. at the University of Washington, then residency and fellowship training at UCSF. He is an NIA Beeson Scholar.
Adam Salmon received BS and MS degrees from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a Ph.D. in physiology from the University of Michigan. Following postdoctoral training at the Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies in the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, he progressed through the faculty ranks there and is currently an Associate Professor in the Barshop Institute and Department of Molecular Medicine. Throughout his training, he has been immersed in the study of the basic biology of aging. Broadly, his research has addressed the relationship between stress, metabolism, and aging in mammalian models. His research has included cell biology, molecular biology, and mammalian physiology in aging across a wide-ranging scope from cell culture to mammalian lifespan studies. Moreover, he has utilized research tools encompassing rodent, non-traditional mammalian models (i.e. bats, naked mole rats, wild-caught rodent species, etc.) and non-human primates. Using this background, his current research focuses towards translational geroscience of findings from basic biology of aging through pre-clinical application in the non-human primate Callithrix jacchus (common marmoset). His contributions to aging research have been recognized with Fellow Status by the American Aging Association (AAA), a New Investigator Award from the Society for Free Radical Biology in Medicine and by the American Federation for Aging Research.
Jeffrey Smith Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics at the University of Virginia School of Medicine. Obtained a BS in Marine Biology at Long Island University-Southampton in 1989, and then a Ph.D. in Biochemistry at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in 1994, where he studied the RNase H activity of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase. As a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Jef Boeke at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Dr Smith identified and characterized a form of Sir2-dependent transcriptional silencing (heterochromatin) in the rDNA locus of budding yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Dr Smith has been a PI at the University of Virginia since 1999 and has continued to investigate the mechanisms of Sir2-dependent rDNA silencing, as well as the regulation of Sir2 by NAD++-biosynthesis and salvage pathways. His lab currently focuses on identification of new cellular functions regulated by Sir2 and other sirtuin protein family members, including thiamine biosynthesis, chromosome segregation, and most recently, mating-type switching. The work on Sir2 has led to studies on replicative and chronological aging in the budding yeast system, with a focus on uncovering mechanisms of lifespan extension by caloric restriction (CR), as typically defined by glucose limitation. Dr Smith is a strong advocate for teaching, and recently received the Robert J. Kadner Award for Outstanding Graduate Teaching and was inducted into the UVA School of Medicine Academy of Distinguished Educators.
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.