Scientists Involved in Aging Research

Paola S. Timiras

Molecular and Cell Biology
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley,
California,
U.S.A.

Dr. Paola S. Timiras is a Professor in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of California at Berkeley. Before joining the University of California in 1956, she was a faculty member of the University of Montreal (1950-1953) and the University of Utah (1953-1955). She chaired the Department of Physiology-Anatomy at the UCB from 1978 to 1984. Dr. Timiras's research in the fields of neuroendocrinology of development and aging has resulted in the publication of more than 350 papers and several books. Dr. Timiras was one of the founders and president (1978-1981) of the International Society of Developmental Neuroscience.

Selected Publications:

Medline. At the National Institutes of Health.



George M. Martin

Professor, Pathology, Adjunct Prof, Genetics
Pathology, Genetics
K-543 Health Sciences Bldg
University of Washington
Washington
USA

Selected Publications:

Medline. At the National Institutes of Health.



Caleb E. Finch

Molecular Neurogerontology
University of Southern California
Los Angeles
California
USA

ARCO/William F. Kieschnick Professor in the Neurobiology of Aging, (Gerontology). Ph.D., 1969 Rockefeller University. Postdoctoral, Rockefeller University

My lab focuses on genomic mechanisms in postnatal development and aging in mammals with particular emphasis on the brain and neural-endocrine interactions. We have recently learned how to obtain clonable mRNA from the human brain postmortem, and are characterizing the changes in mRNA populations during Alzheimer's disease. The responses of genes to steroids in the brain are also being studied to unravel the mechanisms by which estrogens and corticosteroids influence brain aging processes. Ultimately we hope to isolate a set of genes that have crucial roles in brain aging, development, and evolution.

Selected Publications:

Medline. At the National Institutes of Health.


Peter J. Hornsby


Huffington Center on Aging
Baylor Collage of Medicine,
Houston,
Texas,
U.S.A.

My research concerns mechanisms of cellular aging and differentiation. We use the cells of the adrenal cortex, which secrete glucocorticoid, mineralocorticoid, and androgen hormones, as our model cell type. Our particular interest is in human cell aging. Because this is difficult to study in vivo, we use two experimental methods for studying the aging process of human adrenocortical cells. One is the well established method of growing the cells in culture. We examine the properties of the cells both as a function of donor age and as a function of the number of times they have divided in culture (how close they are to senescence). More recently, we have developed the technology of cell transplantation in immunodeficient (scid - severe combined immunodeficiency) mice. In vivo, human or bovine adrenocortical cells regenerate into a functional tissue structure, which actually replaces the animals' own adrenal gland function. These animals, therefore, form a model not only for the investigation of the properties of human adrenal cells in a real tissue structure in vivo, but also provide a way in which the physiological regulation of human adrenocortical tissue can be studied in mice.

Because of the possibility that adrenal cells might more readily form a tissue structure in mice than other cell types, we are also interested in the potential use of human or bovine adrenal cells as a vehicle for delivery of therapeutic products, which might eventually be applicable to human subjects. For this purpose, we have transfected clonal adrenal cells with test genes to establish that the cells are capable of expressing such genes in the tissue formed from the transplanted cells. The figure illustrates (left side) transplanted clonal cells in mice. (a) shows the cells immediately after introduction into the small (3-mm) cylinder in which they are transplanted. (b - d) shows the vascularized tissue formed from the cells 30 to 50 days later. (Right side) histology of tissue formed from transplanted clonal adrenal cells viewed by DNA-binding dye fluorescence. Mouse cells fluoresce with a different intranuclear pattern from that of human or bovine cells.

Selected Publications:

Medline. At the National Institutes of Health.


Michael R. Rose

Professor
Evolutionary Biology of Aging; Evolutionary Genetics
University of California, Irvine
Irvine,
California,
U.S.A.

Why do organisms that have undergone an elaborate process of growth and differentiation to achieve reproductive maturity then proceed to deteriorate, some slowly but some rapidly, over the rest of their lives? This phenomenon of aging is one of the great paradoxes of life, one that has been resolved only in the last ten years. Then again, following Aristotle's comments more than two millennia ago, is this aging related to the health of the young organism, or are youthful function and senescence independent of each other? Put another way, how is fitness connected to aging in the overall determination of life-history?

These are questions that can be answered both theoretically and experimentally. My major scientific focus over the last fifteen years has been experimental tests of evolutionary theories for the evolution of aging, fitness, life-histories, etc., on Drosophila melanogaster , although I collaborate with other investigators using different species. We have experimentally tested the general theory that aging evolves because of a decline in the force of selection with adult age. Another major theme in our work has been the degree to which the population genetics of life-history and deleterious effects at other ages - that is, "trade-offs." We have also been investigating the physiological basis of genetic variation in life-histories.

Among our most important findings are that the biology of aging can be well-explained by the evolutionary theory of aging. In addition, the application of that evolutionary theory can help to unravel the physiological mechanisms of aging. To be more concrete, in our Drosophila system, one of the major limiting factors for later survival and reproduction is the storage of calories in the form of lipid or glycogen. We have managed to double lifespan in fly populations by the use of selection. We have also found that virginity and dietary restriction can be used to postpone aging. We have had some success with the population genetics of postponed aging: out of some 100 or more loci that may be involved, we are on the trail of about ten genes. We are trying to identify these genes so that we can analyze their effects more precisely.

I have also taken up theoretical problems from time to time. Prominent among these are the evolution of genetic systems, especially mechanisms of speciation, the origin of sex, and the maintenance of sex in the face of invading parthenogens. I have also worked on evolutionary game theory, particularly applications to hominid evolution and to the behavior of pathological humans. My inclinations as a theoretician are to start from a novel biological hypothesis, rather than a specific mathematical tool, using models of the greatest possible simplicity.

Selected Publications:

Medline. At the National Institutes of Health.


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J.C. Carlson


BSc, MSc, PhD (Massachusetts)
University of Waterloo,
Waterloo,
Ontario,
Canada
Email: jcarlson@sciborg.uwaterloo.ca

Research Interests

Physiology of the mammalian reproductive system; mechanisms of corpus luteum regression. Studies on the process of aging.

Selected Publications:

Medline. At the National Institutes of Health.


.

Calvin B. Harley

Geron Corporation
200 Constitution Dr.
Menlo Park,
California,
U.S.A.

Dr. Harley was an Associate Professor from 1989 until going to Geron Corporation, and from 1982 to 1989, he was Assistant Professor of Biochemistry at McMaster University. He also was the Chair of the Canadian Association on Gerontology, Division of Biological Sciences from October 1989 to October 1991 and Chairman Elect from 1987 to 1989. Dr. Harley recieved a B.S. from the University of Waterloo and a Ph.D. from McMaster University. He performed postdoctoral work at the University of California at San Francisco and at the University of Sussex .

Selected Publications:

Medline. At the National Institutes of Health.


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