San Diego Nathan Shock Center

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San Diego Nathan Shock Center announces pilot grant awardees

The San Diego Nathan Shock Center (SD-NSC) of Excellence in the Basic Biology of Aging, a consortium between the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, Sanford Burnham Prebys (SBP) and the University of California San Diego, has announced its second-year class of pilot grant awardees. Recipients from six different institutions will receive up to $15,000 to pursue research that advances our understanding of how humans age, with the ultimate goal of extending health span, the number of years of healthy, disease-free life.

“We are excited to support researchers who are working on these innovative, basic biology of aging research projects,” says Salk Professor Gerald Shadel, who directs the SD-NSC. “The findings from this collective group of projects will deepen our understanding of the heterogeneity of aging, which is key to finding interventions to improve human health span.”

Leena Bharath, Shefali Krishna, Gargi Mahapatra Chiara Nicoletti, Anastasia Shindyapina, Xu Zhang

The six pilot grant awardees from top left are:

  • Leena Bharath, assistant professor at Merrimack College, “Human T cell inflammation in aging”;
  • Shefali Krishna, staff scientist at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, “Characterization and function of mitochondrial age mosaicism and heterogeneity”;
  • Gargi Mahapatra, postdoctoral fellow at Wake Forest School of Medicine, “Identifying mediators of bioenergetic decline in peripheral cells of older adults across a spectrum of cognitive abilities”;
  • Chiara Nicoletti, postdoctoral fellow at Sanford Burnham Prebys, “Extracellular vesicles as soluble mediators of accelerated aging within the heterogeneous population of muscle-resident cells in Duchenne muscular dystrophy”;
  • Anastasia Shindyapina, instructor in medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, “Unraveling heterogeneous biological aging of mouse immune cells at single-cell resolution”; and
  • Xu Zhang, research associate at the Mayo Clinic, “The dynamics and heterogeneity of cell fates during cellular senescence.”

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The San Diego Nathan Shock Center expands its network by adding 36 affiliated researchers.

The San Diego Nathan Shock Center (SD-NSC) of Excellence in the Basic Biology of Aging is thrilled to announce that 36 researchers from the San Diego community have joined the Center as affiliates. These ageing researchers are from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, and the University of California San Diego. “We look forward to working with our Center’s affiliates to foster new research collaborations that advance the understanding of the basic biology of aging, with a focus on the heterogeneity of the process, and to provide educational opportunities and support to investigators new to the aging field. We are thankful for their dedication and contribution to the aging research community,” said Gerald S. Shadel, Ph.D., Director of the SD-NSC.

SD-NSC affiliates will serve as center advocates, encourage new researchers to explore the basic biology of aging and help promote aging research in general. The broad expertise of the SD-NSC affiliates will enhance the center’s pilot grant and mentoring programs in which junior researchers are paired with senior investigators for scientific and career advice.

Efforts are ongoing to recruit affiliates from the broader aging community. If you are interested in joining the Center as an affiliate, please email your information here.


AGE Early Career Scholars Program – apply now!

Deadline January 25, 2022

American Aging Association (AGE) is looking for enthusiastic trainees studying aging or age-related diseases to apply for the AGE Early Career Scholars Program. This program aims to promote diversity in the aging research workforce by supporting 2-year AGE membership and travel for the 2022 AGE meeting. The selected applicants will also be paired with a mentor chosen from the senior AGE trainee chapter member and present their research at the AGE 2022 annual meeting

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Celebrate #ResearchDiversity Day on October 21, 2021, 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. ET

The National Institute of Aging (NIA) will host its annual #ResearchDiversity Day Twitter event on October 21, 2021, at 1:00 p.m. ET / 10:00 a.m. PT.


Over the past four years, NIA has organized a #ResearchDiversity Day to highlight and celebrate its commitment to diversity in aging research. During this year’s Twitter Chat event, NIA will provide answers to frequently asked questions about diversity supplements and will recognize the grantees who recently received Diversity Supplements.

Melissa Kelley
Melissa Hernandez Kelley

One of the Diversity Supplements was awarded to San Diego Nathan Shock Center (SD-NSC) postdoctoral researcher, Melissa Hernandez Kelley of the Gage lab. The Supplement supports her training in the generation of various in vitro human cell models of aging through the SD-NSC Human Cell Models of Aging Core. She is conducting her postdoctoral studies in the laboratory of Professor Fred Gage, co-Director of this important Core. Her exciting work takes advantage of skin samples donated by a well-characterized cohort of various ages, generating induced cell types and organoids critical for understanding the cellular heterogeneity of aging. These skill sets will provide a useful canvas for building studies that incorporate her expertise in electrophysiology to study aged neurons and other cell types.

Join NIA and other institutes on Twitter to learn more about the Diversity Supplements and how they help increase diversity of the scientific workforce. Use the hashtag #ResearchDiversity to share your experience and indicate what research diversity means to you.

Learn more about #ResearchDiversity Day event here.

Learn more about NIA’s Diversity Supplement program.


Peter Adams and Gerald Shadel awarded $13 million from NIH to study aging and liver cancer

Sanford Burnham Prebys Professor Peter D. Adams, who directs the Aging, Cancer and Immuno-oncology Program, and Salk Institute Professor Gerald Shadel, who directs the San Diego Nathan Shock Center of Excellence in the Basic Biology of Aging, have been awarded a grant from the NIH’s National Institute on Aging for $13 million, funding a five-year project to explore the connection between aging and liver cancer.

Throughout the five-year project, the researchers will undertake a comprehensive study of how chronic interferon signaling influences several biochemical processes in age-related liver cancer. These include senescence, a cellular stress response associated with aging that is already a major focus of Adams’ research. They’ll also investigate the links between liver cancer and malfunctions of mitochondria and metabolism that occur during aging.
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Postdoctoral Opportunity Biology of Aging and Age-Related Diseases T32 Training Program

Post-Doctoral OpportunityThe Biology of Aging and Age-Related Diseases T32 Training Grant, located at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is looking for a postdoc as early as March 1, 2022. Click here to read the flyer. Please contact Sara Seton at sseton@medicine.wisc.edu with questions.

About the program: The Biology of Aging and Age-Related Diseases NIH/NIA training program is led by Dr. Sanjay Asthana and Dr. Rozalyn Anderson. The training program and expert mentoring team cover the spectrum of aging research, from basic mechanisms of aging to biology of age-related disease, and translational studies of preventative interventions and clinical application. This unique grant covers career development for post-doctoral scholars through didactic training in Basic and Translational Aging Biology, mentored training and professional skill development, the Biology of Aging Seminar Series, and support for conference attendance. For more information about our mentors, trainees, program directors, and more please visit: https://biologyofaging.wisc.edu/.


The San Diego Nathan Shock Center: tackling the heterogeneity of aging

Understanding basic mechanisms of aging holds great promise for developing interventions that prevent or delay many age-related declines and diseases simultaneously to increase human healthspan. However, a major confounding factor in aging research is the heterogeneity of the aging process itself.
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UC San Diego Geriatrics team ranked #13 in the nation

The San Diego Nathan Shock Center (SD-NSC) of Excellence in the Basic Biology of Aging is thrilled to announce that the Geriatrics and Gerontology team at UC San Diego Health has been ranked #13 in this specialty by U.S. News & World Report. More than 4,750 medical centers across the U.S. were evaluated for this survey. “We are very fortunate indeed to have a top-tier team specializing in Geriatrics as a key component of our center” said Gerald S. Shadel, Ph.D., Director of the SD-NSC.

“We are extremely honored by this national recognition”, said Dr. Molina, co-Director of SD-NSC’s Human Cell Models of Aging Core and Vice Chief of Research for the Division of Geriatrics, Gerontology, and Palliative Care at UC San Diego. “We strive to optimize the experience of aging through excellence in clinical care, education, and transformative research.

“As part of the SD-NSC, Dr. Molina’s team is building a novel human cohort that represents the breadth of adult chronological age and is extensively characterized forkey physical and functional measures of biological age. Cell samples from these individuals will be used to study a range of aging processes, with the goal of developing personalized interventions to increase health span.
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San Diego Nathan Shock Center announces first grant awardees at inaugural training workshop

The San Diego Nathan Shock Center (SD-NSC) of Excellence in the Basic Biology of Aging, a consortium between the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, Sanford Burnham Prebys (SBP) Medical Discovery Institute and the University of California San Diego, has announced the first class of pilot grant awardees at the center’s inaugural training workshop. Six recipients, each from a different institution, will receive up to $15,000 to pursue research that advances our understanding of how humans age, with the ultimate goal of extending the number of years of healthy, disease-free life (i.e., health span).
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