The proposed program represents a 5-year continuation of an institutional training grant in the biology of aging, which was consolidated in 2003 from two departmental training grants. We request funds to support 10 predoctoral and 6 postdoctoral trainees. The impending avalanche of elderly in the US combined with major recent advances in understanding fundamental mechanisms of aging has created a substantial demand for researchers trained to investigate means of delaying and relieving the ailments of an aging population. The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio is a premier research institution in the biology of aging, currently receiving more research funding from the Biology of Aging Program of the National Institute on Aging (NIA) than any other stand-alone medical institution. The primary goal of the proposed Training Program is to intellectually prepare both graduate students and postdoctoral fellows for careers as leaders in basic biological research in aging. The Training Program involves 25 faculty members (14 men, 11 women) and takes advantage of the synergies created by intensely collaborative personnel, the unique resources available from our Nathan Shock Center of Excellence in the Biology of Aging and the institutional commitment to, and expanding resources of, the Barshop Institute itself. Trainees will be chosen competitively based on academic excellence, their interest in aging research, and motivation for careers in research. The main activity of each trainee is the development of their faculty-supervised research project, which because of the extent of collaboration among our faculty tends to result surprisingly often in team mentorships. Another key component is to require broad knowledge in the biology of aging acquired in our two biology of aging courses such that trainees can place their research in an appropriate scientific context. In addition to this formal didactic training, we require trainees to attend the weekly Aging Research Journal Club and the Barshop Institute seminar series. Our program also emphasizes training in scientific communication with multiple venues for trainees to hone skills in both written and oral presentation. The timing of the proposed Training Program is propitious in that it will span the transition of our graduate student program from its current status as a Special Biology of Aging Track within the Department of Cellular &Structural Biology to its future status as an independent graduate program - the nation's first Ph.D. program in the Biology of Aging. That transition process has already been initiated and will be completed during the proposed funding period. This application is a new training program for research scientists in the areas of genetics of aging, lifespan intervention analyses in animal models, and age-related diseases. Pre- and post-doctoral fellows (10 and 6 per year respectively) will be trained in the biology of aging. The trainees will participate in projects involving: programmed changes in gene expression;somatic mutations and epigenetic changes in gene expression;free radicals, DNA damage and DNA repair;aging of endocrine and immune systems;transmembrane signaling;oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes in cell growth, differentiation and apoptosis;and the molecular aspects of age-associated diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and prostatic hyperplasia and neoplasia. The Biology of Aging course and journal clubs on current topics in gerontology will provide the formal setting for didactic training. The Aging Seminar Series will be the focal point of interactions of the trainees with eminent scientists working in the field of aging. Trainees will be selected based on their interest in aging, academic excellence, and motivation for careers in research, instruction and service as reflected from their academic records, and letters of recommendations. The Institutional core facilities for generating transgenic mice, biometry, recombinant DNA technology, hybridoma, flow cytometry microassay and confocal microscopy will be available to all trainees and the participating faculty. This program is comprised of 27 faculty trainers of whom 22 are funded by the NIA. Two are newly recruited Assistant Professors with a clear interest in aging. The three senior investigators with other funding are interested in aging, involved in teaching in the Aging course, and participating in the journal club, and provide research interests that add to, rather than duplicate, that of the other trainers. As a result, the trainees will have a broad range of research to choose from and they will work with individuals who have demonstrated their training ability. San Antonio has the unique situation of having access to and recruiting minorities from the undergraduate universities in the area, e.g., University of Texas at San Antonio and St. Mary's University. A strong effort will be made to do just this. Support of this program has all the potential of training a much needed group of scientists;the gerontologists of the future.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Institutional National Research Service Award (T32)
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Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZAG1-ZIJ-9 (J1))
Program Officer
Sierra, Felipe
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Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
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University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio
Schools of Medicine
San Antonio
United States
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