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MDI Biological Laboratory awarded grant from Glenn Foundation to study aging

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Credit: MDI Biological Laboratory

BAR HARBOR, MAINE – The MDI Biological Laboratory has announced that it has received a grant to support a new course on aging that will draw internationally renowned scientists to Bar Harbor, Maine, to examine fundamental questions about our ability to repair and regenerate tissue as we age.

The $20,000 grant from the Glenn Foundation For Medical Research will be used to help offset the cost of tuition for an intensive two-week research training course entitled "Comparative and Experimental Approaches to Aging Biology Research" to be held at the institution June 19 to July 3.

The course will emphasize molecular approaches to aging biology research using comparative approaches and models. Four animal models will be studied: roundworms (C. elegans), fruit flies, mice and African turquoise killifish.

The use of multiple animal models reflects the MDI Biological Laboratory's unique approach to the study of aging and regenerative biology. Rather than studying aging in isolated cells or in a single animal model, the institution's scientists use diverse animal models ranging from roundworms to mice. This approach provides insight into evolutionarily conserved mechanisms of aging, as well as differences between animal models and humans that can be potentially exploited to improve human health and extend healthy lifespan.

"We believe the study of molecular pathways in diverse animals that share many of their genes with humans offers valuable insight into the degenerative diseases of aging such as heart disease and Alzheimer's," said Kevin Strange, Ph.D., president of the MDI Biological Laboratory. "We are grateful for the support of the Glenn Foundation, which shares our mission of translating aging biology research into treatments."

The MDI Biological Laboratory, located in Bar Harbor, is an independent, nonprofit biomedical research institution that develops solutions to human health problems through research, education and ventures that transform discoveries into cures. The institution is focused on increasing healthy lifespan and harnessing our natural ability to repair and regenerate tissues damaged by injury or disease.

Scientists working in the institution's Kathryn W. Davis Center for Regenerative Medicine study tissue repair, regeneration and aging in a diverse range of organisms, including those with a robust ability to regenerate tissue such as zebrafish and salamanders.

The course is unique in offering both hypothesis-driven research using the latest experimental techniques and training in the use of software for the analysis of large datasets. In addition, the interaction between graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and early stage independent investigators and world-renowned scientists in the field of aging biology creates opportunities for professional development and networking.

"We see the collaboration fostered by this course serving as a catalyst for discovery," said assistant professor Aric Rogers, Ph.D., course director. "The study of the fundamental molecular processes of aging is one of the most exciting areas of inquiry in biology today, but its advancement depends upon the sharing of information and techniques. We thank the Glenn Foundation for helping to make this possible."

Plans call for the course, which is being held for the first time this summer, to be repeated on a biennial basis. The grant in support of the aging biology course is the first awarded to the MDI Biological Laboratory from the Glenn Foundation For Medical Research, which also supports research through the Paul F. Glenn Center for the Biology of Aging at Harvard Medical School, MIT, the Mayo Clinic, Stanford Medical School, the Salk Institute for Biological Sciences and other prestigious educational and research institutions. The course is also being supported by INBRE and COBRE grants awarded to the MDI Biological Laboratory by the National Institutes of Health.

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The Mount Desert Island (MDI) Biological Laboratory, located in Bar Harbor, Maine, is an independent, non-profit biomedical research institution focused on increasing healthy lifespan and increasing our natural ability to repair and regenerate tissues damaged by injury or disease. The institution develops solutions to complex human health problems through research, education and ventures that transform discoveries into cures. For more information, please visit http://www.mdibl.org.

The mission of the Glenn Foundation For Medical Research, established in 1965 by Paul F. Glenn, is to extend the healthy years of life through research on mechanisms of biology that govern normal human aging and its related physiological decline, with the objective of translating research into interventions that will extend healthspan with lifespan. For more information, please visit http://www.glennfoundation.org.

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Stefanie Matteson
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