This session will feature three clinician/researcher pairs talking about aging research as it relates to their work on the heart, brain and muscle.
- Jan Kajstura, PhD, Associate Professor, Dept. of Anesthesia, BWH. (Basic Research Talk).
- Daniel Forman, MD, Associate Professor, Dept. of Medicine (Cardiology), BWH. (Clinical Research Talk).
- Reisa Sperling, MD, Professor, Dept. of Neurology, BWH. (Basic Research Talk)
- William Milberg, PhD, Professor, Dept. of Psychiatry, Veteran Affairs Boston Healthcare System. (Clinical Research Talk).
- Andrew Brack, PhD, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Medicine, MGH. (Basic Research Talk)
- Shalender Bhasin, MD, Professor of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine. (Clinical Research Talk).
- Michael Gaziano, MD, Professor, Dept. of Medicine (Preventive Medicine), BWH. (Basic Research Talk).
- Annarosa Leri, MD, Associate Professor, Dept. of Anesthesia, BWH. (Clinical Research Talk).
Dr. Shalender Bhasin is an internationally recognized endocrinologist with expertise in function promoting anabolic therapies, androgen biology and clinical trials of testosterone. His laboratory provided the first unequivocal evidence of the anabolic effects of androgens in humans, demonstrated that androgens regulate differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells, and invoked the activation of Wnt target genes through the beta-catenin-TCF-4 pathway.
Dr. Andrew Brack’s research lab interests lie at the interface between adult stem cell biology and tissue regeneration. He focuses on the molecular pathways that control cell fate decisions of the adult muscle stem cell (the satellite cell) to effectively regenerate adult skeletal muscle. Currently, Dr. Brack’s lab has active projects in the following areas: satellite cell quiescence and self-renewal, the stem cell niche, satellite cell heterogeneity, aging, and muscle cell size regulation. In the future, he hopes his research will lead to strategic improvements in stem cell therapy that target aging and skeletal muscle disease.
Dr. Daniel Forman is Director of the BWH Cardiac Rehabilitation and its program at the BW/MG Health Care Center at Foxborough. He has broad expertise in exercise therapy and lifestyle modification for those with cardiovascular disease; with a long track record of related research in exercise for coronary artery disease, heart failure, cognition, optimal aging, and healthcare disparities. Dr. Forman also directs the BWH Exercise Testing Laboratory, with extensive expertise in stress testing, and particular interest in measuring functional capacity as means to diagnose and gauge risk from cardiovascular disease and aging.
Dr. Michael Gaziano is an internationally recognized chronic disease epidemiologist. He has a particular interest in the roles that individual lifestyle choices (diet, exercise, smoking), metabolic factors (obesity, high cholesterol, and hypertension), and biochemical and genetic markers play on the risk of coronary artery disease and stroke. Also of interest is the impact that vascular disease has on other organ systems, including cognitive dysfunction and renal disease. Recently, Dr. Gaziano has initiated a number of research projects to investigate the diverse nature of atherosclerosis.
Dr. Jan Kajstura’s recent research on cardiac biology indicates that high level of oxidative stress present in the diabetic heart causes premature senescence of CSCs, leading to a dramatic decrease in the function of these cells. Thus, the diabetic cardiomyopathy can be regarded as a stem cell disease in which accelerated aging of stem cells conditions lower rate of formation of myocytes, leading to dilated cardiomyopathy and ventricular dysfunction
Dr. Annarosa Leri’s long-term research objective is to demonstrate that the heart is a self-renewing organ and, therefore, cardiac aging is determined by the progressive depletion of functionally competent cardiac stem cells. These studies investigate the mechanisms that control proliferation, senescence and death of undifferentiated cells. In particular, the regulation of telomerase-telomere axis (expression of telomerase, telomerase activity, telomere length) and p53 pathway is studied. In addition, her research aims at the control of migratory properties of primitive cells together with their engraftment and differentiation into parenchymal and vascular cells.
Dr. William Milberg’s research has focused on issues such as semantic memory and attentional disorders in Alzheimer’s disease, as well as the neural basis of the phenomenon known as hemispatial neglect, which can occur in stroke victims and results in patients being unable to sense the limbs on one side of the body. Dr. Milberg’s team has begun testing a promising new treatment for this problem. He and fellow researchers have become interested in the anatomical, physiological, and neuropsychological characteristics of patients at risk for developing cerebrovascular disease.
Dr. Reisa Sperling is a neurologist, specializing in dementia and imaging research. Her research is focused on the early diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Her recent work involves the use of functional MRI and PET amyloid imaging to study alterations in brain function during aging and early Alzheimer’s disease. She is the Principal Investigator on multiple NIH and Foundation grants to study the neural basis of memory impairment in mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and AD, and the relationship of amyloid deposition to memory function.