Faculty Trainers


Rozalyn Anderson Dept. of Geriatrics & Adult Development
The primary focus of Dr. Anderson's research is to identify critical factors involved in the mechanisms of aging retardation by caloric restriction. Despite the apparent phenotypic disparity across age-associated disorders such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes, clues are emerging from the study of caloric restriction that may connect these disorders and illuminate the complexities of the aging process.

Sanjay Asthana Department of Medicine- Geriatrics
The major focus of Dr. Asthana's research program is to evaluate the potential role of estrogen and related gonadal steroids on cognitive function and physical function skills of healthy older women as well as those with Alzheimer's disease. His studies are designed to evaluate the therapeutic potential of estrogen and raloxifene for Alzheimer's disease. He is also conducting research to determine if estrogen can improve cognitive changes associated with healthy aging.

Alan D. Attie Department of Biochemistry
Dr. Attie's laboratory uses genetics to identify genes and pathways that contribute to type 2 diabetes. Current research includes studies of insulin processing and secretion, insulin degradation, beta-cell proliferation, and the effect of oxidative stress on signaling pathways. Additional genetic screens are aimed at finding genes involved in a broad range of metabolic disorders in addition to obesity and diabetes.

Craig S. Atwood Department of Medicine- Geriatrics & Gerontology
The basic premise behind the research in Dr. Atwood's laboratory is that the hormones that regulate reproduction act in an antagonistic pleiotropic manner to control aging via cell cycle signaling; promoting growth and development early in life in order to achieve reproduction, but later in life, in a futile attempt to maintain reproduction, become dysregulated and drive senescence via altered cell cycle signaling (The Reproductive-Cell Cycle Theory of Aging). In essence, the theory provides a credible explanation of why and how we age at the molecular, physiological and evolutionary levels. The current focus of research in his laboratory relates to basic investigations into developing strategies to maintain reproductive hormone balance so as to halt the aging process.

Tracy Baker-Herman Department of Comparative Biosciences
The Tracy Baker-Herman Lab studies homeostatic synaptic plasticity of respiratory motor output and its recovery following spinal injury. See her lab website.

Barbara B. Bendlin Dept. of Medicine- Geriatrics & Adult Development
Dr. Bendlin's work focuses on factors that contribute to or protect against the development of Alzheimer's. Her recent work focuses on early brain changes in people who may go on to develop the disease, using MRI as a tool to understand the effect of risk factors (parental family history, genotype, Metabolic Syndrome) on brain blood flow and structure. See her website.

Neil C. Binkley Department of Medicine- Geriatrics
Dr. Binkley's work focuses on osteoporosis prevention and treatment. To better understand the pathogenesis of osteoporosis, the role of subclinical vitamin K insufficiency and approaches to widespread vitamin D inadequacy are being evaluated. Ongoing clinical studies include pharmaceutical trials, bone loss prevention regimens, and evaluation of diagnostic technology.

Cynthia Carlsson Department of Medicine- Geriatrics
Dr. Carlsson's research focuses on the effects of vascular risk factors and their treatments on cognition and biomarkers for Alzheimer's disease in persons at risk for dementia. Her recent work focuses on the effects of statin drugs on Alzheimer's-related proteins found in the cerebrospinal fluid as well as the effects of these medications on MRI brain blood flow, arterial function, and cognition. See her website.

Christopher L. Coe Department of Psychology
Dr. Coe brings a life perspective to his research on the biological correlates of psychosocial processes in animal models and healthy human and patient populations. He investigates brain and immune trajectories in developing infants as well as similar types of age-related changes in the elderly individual. His lab serves as the BioCore for the Midlife in the US (MIDUS) study and the survey of health and aging in Japan (MIDJA). Dr. Coe also collaborates on studies of the immune correlates of cancer progression and recovery.

Nansi Jo Colley Department of Ophthalmology & Vis. Sci., Department of Genetics
Dr. Colley's research focuses on the molecular genetic basis of protein trafficking, chaperone function, signal transduction and neurodegeneration/neuroprotection in the photoreceptor cells of the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster.

Dawn Belt Davis Department of Endocrinology
Dr. Davis' lab focuses diabetes risk in aging via an understanding of the regulation of pancreatic beta cell mass, which are endocrine cells that secrete insulin to regulate blood glucose levels.

Marc Drezner Department of Medicine- Endocrinology
Dr. Drezner's research relates to the pathogenesis of the vitamin D refractory diseases of man, and, in accord, the regulation of renal phosphate handling and bone mineralization. These investigations have led to seminal observations that may lead to novel therapies for both kidney (renal phosphate wasting disorders) and bone diseases (abnormal bone mineralization). In addition, this work, coupled with ongoing pharmaceutical intervention studies, may improve the management of common diseases, such as osteoporosis

Michael Fiore Department of Medicine- General Internal Medicine
Dr. Fiore founded, and has served as director of, the University of Wisconsin Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention since 1992. His chief research and policy focus has been to develop strategies to prompt clinicians and health care systems to intervene with patients who use tobacco and, currently, to optimize cessation treatments for all tobacco users. He and his Center colleagues have accomplished groundbreaking and internationally recognized research on the treatment of tobacco dependence. See his website.

Barry Ganetzky Department of Genetics
Dr. Ganetzky's work focuses on using a genetic approach to dissect the molecular mechanisms of electrical signaling in the nervous system. They have isolated a number of mutations in Drosphila that perturb nerve impulses or synaptic transmission and have analyzed these mutations using genetic, electrophysiological, histological, and molecular techniques. These studies have generated novel information about the structure, function, and regulation of key proteins such as ion channels and proteins required for neurotransmitter release. They are now using the same strategy to investigate the molecular mechanisms that regulate synaptic growth and plasticity as well as those required to maintain normal neuronal viability.

Audrey Gasch Department of Genetics
Dr. Gasch's work focuses on combining functional genomics and computational biology with traditional techniques in genetics and biochemistry to understand the role, regulation, and evolution of eukaryotic stress responses. A particular focus is elucidating signaling networks that control genomic expression in the model organism S. cerevisiae responding to diverse stresses. Many signaling proteins in this network are implicated in aging, cancer, and other human diseases, making this a useful model for human biology. See her website.

Karen E. Hansen Department of Medicine- Rheumatology
Dr. Hansen's primary research focus centers around issues related to osteoporosis. She has published several studies on factors that influence calcium absorption. Her NIH-sponsored study is a randomized, double-blind trial to compare the effects of placebo, low-dose and high-dose vitamin D therapy on changes in calcium absorption, bone density and muscle fitness in 225 postmenopausal women with serum 25(OH)D levels between 15 and 25 ng/mL at study entry.

Anna Huttenlocher Department of Pediatrics (Medical Microbiology & Immunology)
Dr. Huttenlocher's research focuses on the basic mechanisms that regulate cell migration in processes such as tumor invasion and metastasis and the development of chronic inflammation. Her research team intends to identify novel regulators of these processes and define the relationships between these molecules and cell migration. See her lab website.

David F. Jarrard Departments of Surgery and Molecular and Environmental Toxicology
Dr. Jarrard's laboratory research is focused on the role of imprinting, or allele-specific expression, in aging and prostate cancer susceptibility. Mechanisms being examined for modulating the growth factor IGF-II imprint include DNA methylation. Models being utilized include human prostate cells and in a mouse model of aging.

Sterling C. Johnson Department of Medicine- Geriatrics
Dr. Johnson's research employs functional neuroimaging techniques (such as fMRI and PET) and neuropsychological assessment to study the neurobiological and psychological processes that affect memory. A major focus of research is on people with genetic or cognitive risk factors for Alzheimer Disease to determine whether preclinical brain changes can be observed.

Patricia Keely Dept. of Cell & Regenerative Biology
Dr. Keely's research focuses on the interactions of cells with extracellular matrix components and their alteration during pathological cell migrations in cancer metastasis or atherosclerosis. Dr. Keely is particularly interested in the mediation of adhesion to collagen by integrins, and how they transmit signals to cells that lead to normal or migratory cellular behavior. See her website.

Michelle E. Kimple Department of Medicine- Endocrinology
Dr. Kimple leads a multi-level research team whose focus is on understanding how the beta-cells of the pancreas respond to nutrient and hormonal stimulation to affect biological changes. Her group is especially interested in elucidating how dysfunctional G protein-coupled receptor signaling pathways contribute to the pathogenesis of type 1 and type 2 diabetes and in translating these insights into new and improved diabetes therapeutics.

Jane E. Mahoney Department of Medicine- Geriatrics
Dr. Mahoney's research focuses on falls and mobility impairment among geriatric patients. This research began with studies on risk factors for falls, progressed to looking at interventions to prevent falls, and most recently to dissemination research on how to effectively implement, disseminate, and sustain evidence-based falls prevention program. Collectively, her research provides comprehensive analysis regarding assessments, interventions, and sustainable programs to prevent a geriatric syndrome that is responsible for high morbidity and mortality and substantial health care costs.

Jonathan Makielski Department of Medicine- Cardiology
Dr. Makielski's work uses recombinant DNA technology and other biomolecular techniques to study cardiac ion channels and their implications for patients with arrhythmias. See his website.

Deane Mosher Department of Biomolecular Chemistry
Dr. Mosher studies how the formation and function of extracellular matrix is altered in disease and aging. See his lab website.

Richard Moss Department of Cell & Regenerative Biology
Dr. Moss' laboratory studies contractile processes in heart and skeletal muscles and alterations in contraction in diseases such as heart failure. A primary focus of our research is the set of mechanisms by which calcium, various physical factors, and signal transduction pathways regulate myocardial contraction. See his website.

David J. Pagliarini Department of Biochemistry
Dr. Pagliarini's lab focuses on the biochemical underpinnings of mitochondrial dysfunction in aging and age-related diseases. Mitochondrial dysfunction underlies more than 50 inborn errors of metabolism, and strongly contributes to a growing list of common metabolic and neurodegenerative disorders including type II diabetes, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, and various forms of cancer.

Tomas A. Prolla Department of Genetics
Dr. Prolla's laboratory focuses on understanding the molecular basis of the aging process and common age-related human diseases through the use of large-scale gene expression analysis. This work has developed hundreds of biomarkers to measure the aging process in genetically altered mice.

Luigi Puglielli Department of Medicine (Geriatrics and Gerontology)
Dr. Puglielli's research interests focus on the molecular mechanisms that are responsible for the cognitive loss that accompanies aging and the neurodegeneration that characterizes Alzheimer's disease. His research uses multidisciplinary approaches on in vitro, ex vivo and in vivo models. Such approaches include biochemical, cellular and molecular techniques, as well as electrophysiological, cognitive/behavioral, and structural analysis.

JoAnne Robbins Department of Medicine- Geriatrics
Dr. Robbins directs the UW/VA Swallowing Research Laboratory and the UW/VA Swallowing Speech and Dining Enhancement (SWAL ADE) Program and studies the influences of aging on various aspects of swallowing including physiology, bolus flow, saliva, rheology and tribology. Her research group has focused on swallowing dysfunction as an outcome of stroke, ALS, and other conditions and disease processes. Future work focuses on treatment and prevention of dysphagia and identifying the most effective management of liquid aspiration in dysphagic geriatric patients.

Carol D. Ryff Department of Psychology
Dr. Ryff's research addresses aging as a multidisciplinary challenge that requires integration of many levels of analysis: sociodemographic characteristics, psychosocial resources, life stresses, health behaviors and practices, neurobiological risk and protective factors, and health outcomes (mental and physical). We study the pathways through which these influences come together in longitudinal investigations, involving local, state, and national samples.

Darryl G. Thelen Department of Mechanical Engineering
Dr. Thelen's laboratory (Neuromuscular Biomechanics) is interested in the effects of age and injury on the neuromusculoskeletal system. One current study involves the use of quantitative ultrasonic imaging to noninvasively measure tendon stiffness and mechanics in older adults. The goal is to better understand the propensity for soft tissue injuries to occur with aging, and to provide quantitative diagnostic tools for tracking recovery following injury and rehabilitation. A second study is probing the use of noninvasive neuromodulation in conjunction with physical exercise to enhance balance and gait in older adults. Early results on individuals with neurological disorders suggest that this novel approach may improve balance and reduce fall risk among individuals with balance difficulties.

Beth Weaver Department of Cell & Regenerative Biology
Dr. Weaver's lab research is focused on: genes required for accurate chromosome segregation; the types of chromosome segregation errors that drive tumor promotion versus tumor suppression; and the context-dependent factors that influence the effects of aneuploidy on normal cells and on tumors. See her website.

Richard Weindruch Department of Medicine- Geriatrics
Dr. Weindruch's laboratory is investigating two main questions: 1) How does caloric restriction (CR) retard aging and diseases in mice and rats? 2) Does CR retard aging in monkeys? Recent gene expression data strengthens the idea that CR may slow aging by reducing oxidative damage to tissues.

George Wilding Department of Clinical Oncology
Dr. Wilding's laboratory has shown that androgens induce oxidative stress in human prostate epithelial cells and hypothesize that this contributes to the development of prostate cancer. Their research examines the mechanisms by which androgens lead to the production of reactive oxygen species and investigates ways to intervene in this process to prevent prostate cancer.

Jerry C.P. Yin Department of Genetics
Dr. Yin's laboratory studies the molecular and cellular events underlying memory formation. See his website.
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