The Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory (MDIBL), in collaboration with The Jackson Laboratory, and the Maine Medical Center Research Institute, proposes a conference series on Stem Cells and Aging to be held annually in July of 2020, 2021, and 2022 at MDIBL with the support of the NIA. This conference builds on a strong tradition of stem cell conferences at MDIBL that were first offered in 2002. The proposed series for 2020- 2022 will focus on stem cells and aging, addressing questions related to the causes of aging-associated failure of stem cell quiescence and activation, the impact of stem cell-extrinsic versus stem cell-intrinsic mechanisms in aging associated dysregulation, and new approaches to delay aging by stabilizing stem cell quiescence or reducing stem cell vulnerability. This conference will be followed by a two-week course at MDIBL iCARB: Immersion in Comparative Aging and Regenerative Biology that trains graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and career scientists to become leaders in Aging and Regeneration research. The Organizing Committee, made up of national leaders in biomedical and stem cell research, has developed the program of this symposium to address current issues important to both the stem cell and aging research communities.
The specific aims of the 2020 symposium are: 1) Present and discuss research studies of aging related pathologies that impact stem cells and regeneration including DNA damage / mutation, inflammation, altered cell metabolism / ROS generation, and aging-related changes in stem cell quiescence; 2) Present and discuss scientific advances defining cell-intrinsic and -extrinsic mechanisms governing stem cell aging including transcriptional programs, epigenetic programs, niche cell communication, and niche composition; 3) Present and discuss research on comparative aspects of aging (human, mouse, fish, worm, fly) with a focus on broadly conserved cellular changes in aging; 4) Present and discuss research on promoting stem cell-based tissue regeneration and rejuvenation in aging including studies of caloric restriction and stem cells, inflammatory signaling in aged stem cells, and niche engineering; and 5) Provide extensive opportunities for interaction between trainees, investigators new to stem cell research, and investigators well established in these research areas. Scientific sessions will include platform presentations, poster sessions, and a trainee/faculty networking lunch.
Throughout the lifespan, stem cells in the gut, brain, skin, lung, muscle, blood cells and other tissues maintain organ function and support tissue regeneration after injury. As we age, systems balancing the maintenance and activation of tissue stem cells become unbalanced, causing aberrant outcomes in tissue renewal and our inability to functionally regenerate tissues and organs. Through presentations of new research on how stem cells are maintained during aging and how stem cells can fail in aged animals, this conference aims to generate new ideas and approaches to understanding and treating aging-related tissue and organ failure.