A group of investigators at the University of Minnesota seeks to renew "Functional Proteomics of Aging", an interdisciplinary Training Program that supports 4 predoctoral and 4 postdoctoral trainees. Program faculty members draw trainees from four graduate programs at the University of Minnesota: Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biophysics (BMBB), Rehabilitation Sciences (RSc), Neuroscience (NSc), and Chemistry (Chem). This Training Program contains two major components: (1) Research training that focuses on the use of proteomic technology to reveal the molecular details behind the age-related loss in tissue function and/or age-related disease. (2) Didactic and experiential training in gerontology and proteomics to provide trainees with a solid foundation for launching successful careers in aging research. The research component consists of three research areas that focus on retaining physiological function during aging or understanding disease mechanism: muscle (Ervasti, Lowe, Metzger, Thomas, Thompson), the central nervous system (Ferrington, Li, Low) and energy metabolism and longevity (Arriaga, Bernlohr, Griffin, Hendrickson, Kim). While these areas are broad in scope, they are thematically related through a shared interest in proteomics and aging. Proteomic analysis is utilized by Training faculty to reveal altered protein content, binding partners, and post-translational modifications that occur in aged tissue. This information aids in determining the mechanistic basis for age- and disease-related changes in protein structure and function. Our research is supported by outstanding cores equipped with a variety of state-of-the-art mass spectrometers in the Center for Mass Spectrometry and Proteomics and bioinformatics platforms in the Minnesota Supercomputers Institute. Training faculty laboratories also contain specialized analytical equipment that is commonly shared between Program faculty. This has helped foster extensive interdisciplinary collaborations among faculty and trainees. The Training Program also includes both didactic training via coursework in gerontology and proteomics, as well as experiential training in aging research via conferences, seminars, symposia, journal clubs, and group meetings with Program faculty members. The experiential training is designed to maximize interaction among trainees and Training faculty from multiple labs and with scientists outside the U of MN. In summary, the primary goal of this Training Program is to help exceptional young scientists develop the intellectual and technical tools needed for productive careers as independent investigators and educators in aging research.
Current demographics suggest an impending health epidemic in age-related diseases, creating an urgent need for scientists trained specifically to investigate disease mechanisms. Functional Proteomics of Aging is a training program in basic and translational research in aging for both pre-and post-doctoral trainees. The program's success in its first five years is documented by publications and research career trajectories of past pre- and post-doctoral trainees.
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