A central part of the Aging Institute (AI) mission is to promote innovative research in aging and a rich environment for training of new generation of investigators in the aging field. The partnership and exchange between University of Pittsburgh and UPMC allows basic and translational research with the objective to understand the connection between aging and chronic diseases and improve the quality of life of the elderly population. The research partners include:
The investigators of the Institute have experience and enthusiasm for training postdoctoral fellows and junior faculties. Beyond individualized mentorship by top-notch basic and translational researchers, the institute offers mentorship in career development grant writing, presentation skills and provides opportunities for collaboration and networking with researcher within and outside the University. The following programs are dedicated to supporting postdoctoral training within the Aging Institute:
Research Seminar Series – This monthly conference will have the mission to educate the scientific community at the University of Pittsburgh about the advancements in the aging biology field. Speakers will come not only from the AI and the research partners at the University of Pittsburgh but from across the nation and from overseas. All postodocs and junior faculties are required to attend. A dedicated session of questions and answers from postdocs is organized with speakers.
Networking Gathering – The AI sponsors a monthly series of informal discussions to stimulate collaborative research between faculties of the AI and the research partners. Presentations will be followed by a gathering to socialize and network. All postdocs are highly encouraged to attend this event to allow informal interaction with faculties and familiarize postdocs with the non-scientific skills required to pursue and succeed in an academic career.
AI Research in Progress – All postdocs and junior faculties are required to attend this monthly meeting and present their work at least once a year starting in their 2nd year. This seminar is a more informal venue in which junior investigators present their current research in order to gain scientific feedback as well as develop their oral presentation skills.
Journal Club – This journal club is a monthly activity and all postdocs and junior faculties are required to attend and to present at least once a year. The goal of this meeting is to review current publications and to gain the skill of critically reviewing the literature.
Grant Writing Workshop – This workshop teaches the fundamentals of writing a grant application and guides trainees as they put together their first grant. This workshop is limited to postdocs in their second year (or above) of training who have demonstrated significant scientific aptitude and have long term plans to stay in academia.
Core Training Faculty: Toren Finkel, MD, PhD; Anne Newman, MD, MPH; Marta Bueno, PhD; Beibei Bill Chen, PhD; Yvonne Eisele, PhD; Daniel Forman, MD; Aditi Gurkar, PhD; Gang Li, PhD; Jie Liu, PhD; Shihui Liu, MD, PhD; Yuan Liu, PhD; Stacey Sukoff Rizzo, PhD; Shiori Sekine, PhD; Yusuke Sekine, PhD; Matthew Steinhauser, MD; Jay Tan, PhD; Bokai Zhu, PhD.
Dr. Heather Ballance works in the lab of Dr. Bokai Zhu. Her current projects include the 12-hour rhythms of RNA-binding proteins in nuclear speckles, endoplasmic reticulum (ER) protein content, and cell-to-cell communication through protein secretion. Dr. Ballance is supported by the T32 training program in the Division of Geriatrics, Department of Medicine.
T32 Training Programs
T32 Training Program in Geriatric Medicine
The Division of Geriatrics offers an NIH-funded T32 program with the long-term goal of producing a new generation of investigators with a background in the health professions who have the enthusiastic commitment, knowledge, and skills to succeed in a career in clinical and translational aging research. Our program is one of only a few in the nation that focuses exclusively on individuals from the health professions. The University of Pittsburgh offers an outstanding milieu for this training, with exceptional depth and breadth of well-funded, multidisciplinary aging research; experienced and involved mentors; extensive resources for training in clinical and translational research; and a well-established Concentration in Aging Research Methods.
The comprehensive training program is built on a well-defined structure with six main areas of competency:
Clinical and Translational Research Methods
Principles of Aging and Geriatrics
Aging Research Methods
Responsible Conduct of Research
To achieve competency in these areas, we employ the following training strategies:
An individual career plan
Seminars and workshops
An individualized mentoring team
Scheduled oversight and mutual feedback
The training program offers three options for trainees at various training stages:
- Two-to-three year postdoctoral program for physicians, pharmacists, physical therapists, and (new to this renewal) nurses
- One-year predoctoral training program for medical students integrated into Pitt School of Medicine five-year MD/Research track
- Short-term summer training program for medical, physical therapy, and pharmacy doctoral students
Epidemiology of Aging T32 NIH Training Grant
PI: Anne Newman, MD
The NIH-funded T-32 program from the National Institute on Aging has provided support to trainees in the Epidemiology of Aging program for over 25 years, and was recently refunded to continue through 2021. The program provides support for 2 pre- and 2 post-doctoral trainees, with openings when slots become available. Training cycles begin in the fall term, to maintain alignment with course scheduling. Trainees are provided with 2-3 years of academic support and a stipend.
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