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National Science Foundation grant supports research in aging sciences

The National Science Foundation has awarded a five-year, $2.9 million grant to Oregon State University to support a multidisciplinary graduate training program in aging sciences. The OSU program, called Linking Individuals, Families and Environments in An Aging Society will train Ph.D. scientists and engineers through NSF’s Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) program. The program capitalizes on synergies among scientists at OSU’s Center for Healthy Aging Research in the areas of diet, genes and aging; psychosocial aging; musculoskeletal factors; and technology for aging populations.

Researchers on the IGERT in Aging Sciences project include (L-R) Ron Metoyer (Co-Principal Investigator), Karen Hooker (Principal investigator), Tory Hagen (Co-PI), Mike Pavol (Co-PI) and Carolyn Aldwin (Co-PI).

This will be the third IGERT program at OSU, joining Ecosystem Informatics and Subsurface Biosphere projects. This aging sciences training program could not come at a more opportune time. The number of people in the United States over age 65 is expected to double in the next quarter century, growing to almost 21 percent of the population. Aging is also a global phenomenon. By 2025, it is estimated that 1 in 8 of the world’s inhabitants will be over age 60.

Principle investigator Karen Hooker, director of OSU’s Center for Healthy Aging Research, said the program will enable students to make contributions to knowledge of optimal aging through research and to develop innovative products, services, and policies for an aging society.

Hooker said she hopes the program will act as a catalyst for the science of optimal aging and “give students the conceptual frameworks and methodological tools to address critical questions about aging from the molecular to the societal levels. In order to address the ideal of living relatively free from debilitating diseases and functional impairments in later life, research at the intersections between disciplinary sciences will be necessary,” she said.

Linking Individuals, Families and Environments in An Aging Society is a collaborative effort, involving OSU researchers in the colleges of Health and Human Sciences, Engineering, Science, and the Linus Pauling Institute. Co-principal investigators on the grant include Ronald Metoyer (computer science), Carolyn Aldwin (human development and family sciences), Michael Pavol (nutrition and exercise sciences) and Tory Hagen (biochemistry/biophysics).

For more information and application instructions, contact Anne Hatley at 541-737-4993 or anne.hatley@oregonstate.edu