Pilot Research Program > 2006 Programs
Mapping Lipid Rafts and Caveolae Plasma Membrane Domains in Endothelial Cells to Investigate Aging in the Cardiovascular System
Investigators: Brett Blackman, Dept. of Biomedical Engineering and the Robert M. Berne Cardiovascular Research Center; and Edward Berger, Dept. of Civil Engineering
Project Summary: Cholesterol metabolism, concentration and transport have been clearly linked to chronic age-related diseases (heart disease, Alzheimer’s), immune cell response, and function of the circulatory system. This research explores the link between cholesterol and the function of two special plasma membrane domains involved in these diseases. The research will provide a more complete view of cholesterol’s role in the diseases of aging, and lay the groundwork for future developments in signaling and transduction therapies.
Genetic Control of Age-Associated Anxiety
Investigator: Melissa Burns Cusato, Dept. of Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics
Project Summary: The presence of high anxiety in elderly individuals has detrimental effects on overall health, compliance with medical treatments, and response to medication, leading to a deterioration of quality of life. The purpose of this project is to identify a physiological, rather than a psychological, basis for age-related anxiety. By closely evaluating age-related changes in molecular physiology and the corresponding effects on behavior, we strive to identify which molecular processes link aging with anxiety as well as the genes that are responsible for both of these conditions. Identifying a gene or set of genes controlling the expression of late-life anxiety may help stimulate new research addressing innovative strategies for treatment of this complex problem.
Small Molecule Inhibitors of Osteoclast Differentiation as Novel Anti-Osteoporosis Therapeutics
Investigators: Jason J. Chruma, Dept. of Chemistry and John M. Chirgwin, Dept. of Internal Medicine
Project Summary: Age-related bone diseases such as post-menopausal osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and cancerous bone loss are often caused by the overproduction of osteoclasts, cells which erode bone. Korean researchers recently discovered a natural product that potently inhibits the formation of osteoclasts but does not exhibit any cellular toxicity. Employing a combination of chemical synthesis and molecular biology, we seek to determine the molecular mode-of-action of this natural product and use the information gained from these efforts to design more potent compounds for eventual clinical evaluation. Our long-term goal is the development of effective and non-toxic drugs that block osteoclast formation, thus serving as a novel and unified strategy for the treatment of multiple age-related bone resorption diseases.
The Effects of Yoga on Insulin Sensitivity and Related Indices of Metabolic and Psychological Status in Older Adults with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Pilot Study
Investigators: Kim E. Innes and Ann G. Taylor, Center for the Study of Complementary and Alternative Therapy
Project Summary: Type 2 diabetes mellitus is a serious, chronic, age-related condition that is a leading cause of death and disability in the United States and is rapidly increasing both nationally and globally. Diabetes dramatically increases risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD), with CVD accounting for up to 80% of deaths in adults with diabetes. There is growing evidence that yoga may offer promise for the management of diabetes and for the prevention of cardiovascular complications in persons with diabetes. In this pilot investigation, we will study the effects of a gentle 8-week Iyengar yoga program on insulin sensitivity and other related risk indicators for CVD.