The Gerontology Research Collaborative (GRC) is a group of researchers from the University of California San Diego and other institutions in the area (e.g., Sanford Burnham Prebys, Salk, SDSU) who are doing work in gerontology and who wish to exchange ideas for collaborations, create working groups surrounding research themes (e.g., physical activity, biomarkers of aging, disparities, cognition, epidemiology, technology), and to host events for the broader San Diego region. We intend to be as inclusive as possible, bringing together researchers with a variety of backgrounds including basic science, translational research, clinical practice, mental health, public health, and related disciplines.
As a part of this group, we hold a monthly GRC seminar series to highlight local gerontology research. Formats vary from seminars by local faculty, short talks from early–stage investigators (postdocs, fellows and students), and invited presentations by leading gerontologists. We regularly distribute our newsletter informing our community about research opportunities, publications and local events. Career development and training pertaining to gerontology research will also be provided as our group develops.
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GRC Journal Club
We are proud to announce the formation of a monthly journal club as a part of our Gerontology Research Collaborative. The journal club will be held every fourth Thursday of the month.
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The next GRC Seminar will be on Thursday, November 18, at 4:00 pm.*
Topic: "Detection of Impending Hospitalizations in the Home Bed".
Kevin R. King, M.D., Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Bioengineering and Medicine, Division of Cardiology, UC San Diego
Description: Older adults are frequently hospitalized for acute and chronic conditions such as heart failure, kidney injury, pneumonia, or sepsis. Yet, surprisingly little is known about the days and weeks leading up to hospitalization. This seminar will describe how non-contact sensors in the home bed can longitudinally monitor cardiopulmonary signals without requiring any patient adherence. The dynamics of these signals have revealed surprising discoveries and enabled early recognition of impending hospitalizations. This seminar aims to stimulate conversations with the geriatrics community about ways that adherence-independent sensing in the home can improve the outpatient care of older adults.
Short Bio: Dr. Kevin King is a physician scientist who trained in electrical engineering in the Harvard-MIT MD-PhD program, did internal medicine residency at Stanford, and completed cardiology fellowship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital. At UCSD, he divides his time between caring for patients in the CCU, directing a research lab, and teaching in the dept of bioengineering and medicine. The KingLab has two focuses. It combines emerging technologies such as single cell and spatial multi-omics with conventional techniques to uncover cellular and molecular mechanisms of tissue injury and repair in the heart, liver, and beyond, with a particular focus on the role of the immune system. The KingLab also develops non-contact sensors, deploys them into the homes of patients at high risk of hospitalization, and works to learn the signatures of impending hospitalization with the goal of improving care for chronically ill patients in the home. The lab has been fortunate to receive funding from the NIH DP2 New Innovator Award, the American Heart Association, and multiple NIH institutes.
*In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have moved Gerontology Research collaborative Series to an entirely virtual webinar format. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for log-in information.
We were fortunate to have hosted the following speakers at the GRC series:
Nov 18, 2021
Topic: "Epigenetic Age Acceleration as a Novel Biomarker of Biological Aging for Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias"
Aladdin H. Shadyab, PhD, Assistant Professor Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science.
Description: In this talk, Dr. Shadyab will discuss his research in geroscience, including his new $3.2 million-dollar NIA-funded R01 to examine the association of epigenetic age acceleration, a marker of biological aging, with mild cognitive impairment, dementia, cognitively healthy longevity, and brain aging.
Oct 14, 2021
Topic: "Alcohol use in adults and its impact on health"
Alison Moore, MD MPH - Professor and Chief, UCSD Division Geriatrics, Gerontology & Palliative Care
Description: Dr. Moore discussed this topic in a format that is interactive and finish with a short discussion of some of her work to reduce unhealthy alcohol use.
Feb 11, 2021Topic: "The dynamic epigenome - challenges and opportunities for healthy aging"
Peter Adams, Ph.D. Professor at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute
Description: Dr. Adams discuseds how the dynamic/plastic epigenome is prone to change through aging in ways that are detrimental to healthy aging and longevity. However, a better understanding of this can provide targets for healthy interventions. Specific interests include: DNA methylation clocks, cell senescence, cytoplasmic chromatin - proinflammatory signaling, role of aging in predisposition to cancer, and “chromostasis” (chromatin homeostasis as a presumptive mechanism for healthy aging).
Topic: “Hormetic heat stress induces autophagy to promote longevity and proteostasis in C. elegans”
Caroline Kumsta, Ph.D. - Research Assistant Professor - Program of Development, Aging and Regeneration
Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute
Hormetic stress leads to organismal benefits, including longevity, in many organisms, but the underlying mechanisms are not well understood. Recent work by me and others suggests that mild heat stress can induce the cellular recycling process of autophagy and that autophagic activity is required for the alleviation of age-dependent protein aggregation. Since autophagy and stress-response hormesis are evolutionarily conserved, the investigation of how hormetic stress regulates autophagy is relevant to human health and may prove important for developing strategies to protect against human age-related diseases.
Topic: "Biological and Psychosocial Aging in Schizophrenia and Healthy Aging Cohorts: Studies of Sleep, Inflammation, and Loneliness"
Ellen E. Lee, M.D. Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, UC San Diego - Staff Psychiatrist, VA San Diego Healthcare System
Dec 10, 2020
Topic: "Risk and Protective Factors for Cognitive Health in Aging: A Focus on Hearing"
Linda McEvoy, PhD - Professor in the Department of Radiology, School of Medicine, and founding faculty in the Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science at UC San Diego
Hearing impairment is an emerging risk factor for cognitive decline and dementia, although the mechanism by which hearing impairment may impact cognitive health is not fully understood. I will review the evidence linking hearing impairment with cognitive health in aging; discuss the potential mechanisms underlying this association and identify the further studies that are needed to better understand the basis of this association and inform on steps to mitigate this risk.
Oct 08, 2020
Topic: "Improving the health and medical care of seniors in the acute emergency setting"
Theodore Chan, MD, Professor and Chair of the UCSD Department of Emergency Medicine
Dr. Vaishal Tolia, MD, Associate HS Clinical Professor and the Medical Director for the Emergency Departments
at UCSD-Hillcrest and Jacobs Medical Centers
Dr. Edward Castillo, PhD, MPH, Adjunct Professor at UCSD Department of Emergency Medicine
The rapidly aging population and growing reliance on Emergency Departments present new challenges for the care of older patients for acute medical conditions as well as chronic diseases and determinants of overall health. In this presentation, we will discuss recent regional, UC-wide, and national clinical initiatives, as well as collaborative research opportunities focused on improving the health and medical care of seniors in the acute emergency setting. We will also introduce the Gary and Mary West Senior Emergency Care Unit (SECU) at UCSD Jacobs Medical Center, a groundbreaking acute care unit imbedded within our Emergency Department that has garnered national and international attention on its innovative approach to caring for older patients in the emergency setting.
Sept 10, 2020
Topic: "Mitochondrial stress signaling in immunity, disease, and aging"
Gerald S. Shadel, Ph.D., Professor, Molecular and Cell Biology Lab, Salk Institute for Biological Studies,
Mitochondria are multi-faceted organelles that function at the nexus of energy metabolism, oxidative stress, and cell death signaling. Consequently, circumstances (genetics, environmental factors, age) that result in mitochondrial dysfunction disrupt a multitude of cellular processes that can cause human disease pathology and influence human health. Dr. Shadel discussed latest interrogations of mitochondria-to-nucleus stress signaling pathways, including novel roles for mtDNA in innate immunity and the duality of mitochondrial ROS in aging and longevity. Also introduced the new San Diego-Nathan Shock Center (SD-NSC) of Excellence in the Basic Biology of Aging.
May 14, 2020
Topic: “UC San Diego Dissemination and Implementation Science Center (DISC): Introduction and Opportunities”
Nicole Stadnick, PhD MPH, Department of Psychiatry
Lauren Brookman-Frazee, PhD, Department of Psychiatry
Greg Aarons, PhD, Department of Psychiatry
Borsika Rabin, PhD PharmD MPH, Department of Family Medicine and Public Health
Description: This presentation by the DISC Executive Leadership Team provided the background and overview of the newly established UC San Diego Dissemination and Implementation Science Center (UC San Diego DISC). A brief overview of the promise of D&I Science was provided as well as examples of how D&I Science may contribute to Gerontology research projects. Services and opportunities through the UC San Diego DISC were reviewed and collaboration opportunities discussed.
March 12, 2020
Topic: "Displacement: The New Public Health Challenge facing Older Persons”
Dr. Tala Al-Rousan, physician and epidemiologist, postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Medicine at UCSD
Description: Dr. Al-Rousan discussed forced migration as a social determinant of health in older adults highlighting the research imperative and initiatives particularly on cognitive function of older migrants in the US and internationally.
February 13, 2020
Topic: “Detecting preclinical mobility decline via portable, scalable mobility assessments”
Sarah Graham, PhD, Stein Institute for Research on Aging, Department of Psychiatry, UCSD
Description: Aging is intrinsically associated with declines in physical endurance, muscle strength, balance control, and resulting mobility. Standard-of-care physical function assessments like walking speed and the Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB) suffer from major limitations, including floor and ceiling effects, observational or subjective scoring, and quantifying physical function on a gross level. Scores from these assessments are appropriate for detecting significant impairment, but not incipient or “preclinical” decline, and are poor predictors of real-world function for higher-functioning adults. Instrumented and graded tests can augment clinical assessments by enabling precise and granular measures that better characterize a range of physical capacities and enable detection of preclinical decline. However, to be useful for clinicians or clinical researchers, these measures need to be available outside of a laboratory and have meaning related to an individual’s risk for loss of independence. Dr. Graham introduced xamples of technology for sensitive, user-friendly assessments of mobility for older adults that have the potential to increase the use and value of sensitive physical function measures in clinical and research environments.