June 11-24, 2004
Vol. 34, Issue 11
Back Issues
IN THIS ISSUE
Reunions Weekend 2004
Institute on Aging awards funding
Gilliam’s sense of place
Pay raises
Digest
Headlines @ U.Va.
Outstanding employees
Doctor remembers Ronald Reagan
Klarman: WWII, not Brown, catalyst for Civil Rights Movement
Learning abroad: Becoming citizens of the world
Heritage Repertory Theatre now in 30th season
Reality TV wants you: Get political with Larry Sabato
Holidays for 2004
Attic find sheds light on life of WWI nurse
Instiute on Aging awards funding
Investigators receive pilot research grants
Photos by Andrew Shurtleff
Timothy Salthouse (below left) directs the Institute on Aging. Sara Agre (left) is the institute administrator. Above (left to right) are the pilot grant awardees: Bethany Teachman, Bernhard Maier, Chad Dodson, Barry Condron, Carol Manning and John Lach.

By Fariss Samarrai

Six researchers who are conducting age-related studies were honored and awarded research grants during a reception June 1 at the new offices of the University’s Institute on Aging.

One of the primary goals of the institute is to stimulate research related to issues of aging, and to encourage the formation of collaborative teams to pursue innovative approaches to topics relevant to later life. To support that goal, the institute, with funding from the Office of the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies, is providing “seed money” of up to $30,000 for pilot projects that have a likelihood of generating substantial funding from government agencies or foundations.

The six pilot projects receiving funding range from a project for developing a model system for testing therapies for degenerative disorders, to developing a wearable health monitoring device, to studying the effects of age on memory and cognition. More than 40 U.Va. investigative teams involving more than 100 researchers submitted applications for the pilot grants.

“The aging of America is a major societal issue,” said Timothy Salthouse, director of the Institute on Aging and the Brown-Forman Professor of Psychology. “People are living longer, and are healthy longer, but ultimately many older people will develop Alzheimer’s disease and other long-term health problems. These pilot projects have great potential for future funding and are designed to address several important areas of aging.”

The primary mission of the Institute on Aging is to enrich the lives of those who are old today and those who will be old tomorrow by acting as a catalyst and coordinator for interdisciplinary research, education and service programs within the University of Virginia. The institute promotes basic and applied research on topics related to aging, serves as an information and education resource about aging issues, and seeks to influence the development and implementation of public policy that addresses the needs of older adults.

During the coming academic year, the institute will sponsor two public lectures on aging, featuring eminent speakers. Caleb Finch, director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at the University of Southern California, will present “Evolution Shapes the Schedule of Aging in Neural Systems” on Oct. 1 at 3:30 p.m. in the McLeod Hall Auditorium. Finch’s research has led to breakthroughs in the understanding and treatment of Alzheimer’s.

Ian Deary of the University of Edinburgh will speak March 18, 2005, on “A Lifetime of Intelligence: Following up the Scottish Mental Surveys of 1932 and 1947.” Deary is the principal investigator of interdisciplinary studies examining late-life correlates of childhood intelligence.

To learn more about the Institute on Aging, visit its website at www.virginia.edu/aginginstitute/

The Six Awardees Are:

Barry Condron
Associate professor of biology. Condron is conducting genetics studies using fruit flies for developing a model system for testing therapies for age-related neurological degenerative disorders.

Chad Dodson
Assistant professor of psychology, is looking at the effects of age on monitoring and regulating memory accuracy. He will use several methods to test older adults’ memory and their ability to improve memory.

John Lach
Assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, is developing a noninvasive portable monitoring system that could be worn by a user in a nonmedical environment to continually measure biological, physiological and functional health indicators.

Bernhard Maier
Assistant professor of neuroscience, will investigate the interactions of longevity genes with each other and a cellular growth suppressor. Maier and his team hope to develop chemical compounds to reverse the aging of cells and organisms.

Carol Manning
Associate professor of neurology. Using magnetic resonance spectroscopy, Manning’s team will examine differences in biochemical activity in relevant areas of the brains of healthy elderly people, people with mild cognitive impairment and people with Alzheimer’s disease. Their long-term goal is to use the data to help identify healthy individuals and those with mild cognitive impairment who are at increased risk for developing Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

Bethany Teachman
Assistant professor of psychology. This project will look at aging, perceived cognitive decline and the development of anxiety.

Teachman hopes to establish norms for obsessive-compulsive disorder in older populations to ensure proper diagnosis as well as to more deeply examine the cognitive model of obsessive-compulsive disorder in older populations.




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