Longer Life Foundation awards five grants, seeks applications

The Longer Life Foundation, a cooperative effort between the School of Medicine and the Reinsurance Group of America (RGA), has awarded grants to five Washington University research projects looking at the genetics of aging, the effects of calorie restriction on aging and longevity, the relationship between cancer and aging, and fitness to drive in older adults with neurological impairments. The foundation’s activities are coordinated through the Longer Life Center in the School of Medicine’s Division of Geriatrics and Nutritional Science.

The foundation funds independent research studying ways to improve methods for predicting long-term mortality from various diseases or for promoting quality and quantity of life. Over the last 10 years, the foundation has awarded about $2 million to the University.

A total of $242,281 was awarded to the various researchers who received 2008 grants. David B. Carr, M.D., associate professor of medicine and of neurology, received funding for a project entitled “Fitness-to-Drive in Neurologically Impaired Older Adults.” Another project that received funding is being coordinated by Brian F. Gage, M.D., associate professor of medicine, and Tusar Giri, M.D., Ph.D., senior scientist in the Division of General Medical Sciences. Their project is called “Undercarboxylated Matrix Gla Protein (unMGP): A novel biomarker to predict coronary artery calcification.” Another first-year funding recipient is Jay F. Piccirillo, M.D., professor of otolaryngology and of medicine, whose project is called “Comprehensive Assessment of Senior Adult Cancer Patients.”

Other funding awarded will support research in the second year of two grants first provided in 2007. In one project, Luigi Fontana, M.D., research assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Geriatrics and Nutritional Science, continues to investigate the “Effects of calorie restriction on markers of aging and longevity.” The other second-year award goes to Anthony J. Muslin, M.D., the Langenberg Distinguished Professor of Medicine in the Division of Cardiology, for his study called “Dependence of Longevity and Health on TRB3 Genotype.”

The next call for grant applications went out Jan. 15 with letters of intent due Feb. 12. For more information, scientists seeking funding for projects may contact Joan M. Heins in the Longer Life Center at 286-1912 or jheins@wustl.edu.