OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

NSF awards $2.9 million to OSU for new “aging sciences” program

01/24/2011

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The National Science Foundation has awarded a five-year, $2.9 million grant to Oregon State University to support an interdisciplinary graduate training program in aging sciences.

The OSU program, called Linking Individuals, Families and Environments (LIFE) in an Aging Society will train Ph.D. scientists and engineers through NSF’s Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship, or IGERT program. It will include scientists at OSU’s Center for Healthy Aging Research whose work focuses on diet, genes and aging; psychosocial aging; musculoskeletal factors; and technology for aging populations.

This aging sciences training program is timely, officials say, because 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 one in eight of the world’s inhabitants will be over age 60.

Principal investigator Karen Hooker, director of OSU’s Center for Healthy Aging Research and a social/behavioral scientist, said the program will enable students to contribute 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.

LIFE 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).

Learn more about the program at: http://www.hhs.oregonstate.edu/igert