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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The next GRC meeting will be on Thursday, September 10, at 4:00 pm.*
Topic: "Mitochondrial stress signaling in immunity, disease, and aging"
Gerald S. Shadel, Ph.D.
Audrey Geisel Chair in Biomedical Science
Professor, Molecular and Cell Biology Laboratory
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. I will discuss our 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. I will also introduce the new San Diego-Nathan Shock Center (SD-NSC) of Excellence in the Basic Biology of Aging.
About Gerald S. Shadel, Ph.D.:
Professor, Molecular and Cell Biology Lab, Salk Institute for Biological Studies,
the Audrey Geisel Chair in Biomedical Science, and the Director of the San Diego Nathan Shock Center of Excellence in the Biology of Aging.
The studies in Dr. Shadel's laboratory have as their basis basic research into the mechanism of mitochondrial gene expression (i.e. mtDNA transcription, translation, RNA processing and replication/repair), where he has made seminal contributions for >20 years using yeast, mammalian cell culture, and mouse models. Following this path has also led him into novel ways that mitochondria contribute to disease, aging and the immune system, which are the current major foci of his lab.
*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:
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.