RAND Summer Institute Speakers Bios for 2008 Conference

Steven Austad

University of Texas Health Science Center


Dr. Austad joined the Department of Cellular and structural Biology faculty in June 2004. A Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America since 1993, he is a past recipient of the Robert W. Kleemeier Award (2003) for outstanding research and the Geron Corporation-Samuel Goldstein Distinguished Publication Award (1994) from that Society. He received as well the Nathan A. Shock Award (1994) from the Gerontological Research Center of the National Institute on Aging. He currently serves as Section Editor on the Editorial Boards of Neurobiology of Aging and Aging Cell and as Associate Editor of the Journals of Gerontology: Biological Sciences. With Dr. Edward J. Masoro, he co-edited both the 5th (2001) and 6th (2006) Editions of the Handbook of the Biology of Aging. He also serves (since 2001) on the Initial Review Group for aging grants of the Ellison Medical Foundation. He has served on the NIH Cellular Mechanisms of Aging and Development Study Section. In addition, he co-directs (with Dr. Gary Ruvkun, Harvard University) the 3-week summer course on the Molecular Biology of Aging at the Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory. Dr. Austad maintains a keen interest in the communication of science to the general public, and in that capacity has served on the Science Advisory Board of National Public Radio (1992-1997) and has been a consultant to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry and the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. He has written popular science articles for numerous publications including Natural History magazine, Scientific American, National Wildlife, and International Wildlife. His trade book, Why We Age (1997), has been translated into 7 languages.

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James Banks

University College London


James Banks is Professor of Economics at University College London and Deputy Research Director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, where he also directs the Centre for Economic Research on Ageing. His research focuses on empirical modeling of individual economic behavior over the life-cycle, with particular focus on consumption and spending patterns, saving and asset accumulation, housing dynamics, and retirement and pension choices. Recent work has also begun to look at broader issues in the economics of aging — such as health, physical and cognitive functioning and their association with labor market status; the dynamics of work disability; and the nature of expectations of retirement, health and longevity. Professor Banks is Co-Principal Investigator of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing and has become actively involved in designing economic measures for survey data. He serves on the advisory boards of the British Household Panel Study, the UK Wealth and Assets Survey, the ESRC UK Longitudinal Studies Centre, the UK government Pension Statistics Task Force and is a member of the UK National Strategy Committee on Longitudinal Studies.

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David Bennett

Rush University Medical Center


David A. Bennett, MD, is the Robert C. Borwell Professor of Neurological Sciences and director of the Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center. Dr. Bennett received the degree of bachelor of science with high distinction and high honors in physiology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in 1979. He earned his doctorate in medicine from Rush Medical College in 1984. Following his medical internship, Dr. Bennett returned to Rush for residency training in neurology and a research fellowship in dementia, which he completed in 1989. Dr. Bennett was board certified in neurology in 1990. Dr. Bennett is nationally known for his research regarding the causes, treatment and prevention of Alzheimer's disease and other neurologic conditions such as parkinsonism, cerebrovascular disease, and motor neuron disease. His primary research interest is the neurobiologic mechanisms whereby risk factors lead to the development of Alzheimer's disease and other age-related neurologic conditions. Dr. Bennett is principal investigator of several studies funded by the National Institute on Aging, including the Rush Alzheimer's Disease Core Center, the Religious Orders Study and the Memory and Aging Project. He also directs the Regional Alzheimer's Disease Assistance Center for Northern Illinois for the Illinois Department of Public Health. He has published more than 140 manuscripts and book chapters.

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David Blau

The Ohio State University


David Blau is a labor and population economist with research interests in aging and children. Blau's aging research focuses on the dynamics of employment behavior of individuals and couples at older ages. His recent research examines links between saving and retirement decisions, trends in the timing of retirement, and the impact of labor market rigidities on employment behavior at older ages. He was the founding director of the NIA-funded Demography and Economics of Aging Research program at the Carolina Population Center at the University of North Carolina from 2000 to 2007. Blau's child care research has examined the impact of the cost of child care on women's labor force participation, mode of care, and fertility. More recently he has analyzed the determinants and consequences of the quality of child care, and the impact of child care subsidies and regulations on employment and welfare participation. His book, The Child Care Problem: An Economic Analysis, was published by the Russell Sage Foundation in 2001. His current research on children analyzes the demographic, economic, and policy determinants of the family structure experiences of children, and the impact of family structure and parental time allocation on child outcomes.

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Judith Campisi

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Buck Institute for Age Research


Judith Campisi received her doctorate in Biochemistry from the State University of New York, Stony Brook, and postdoctoral training in the area of cell cycle regulation and cancer at the Harvard Medical School. As an Assistant Professor at the Boston University Medical School, she became interested the control of cellular senescence and its role in tumor suppression and aging. In 1991, she moved her research program to the Berkeley National Laboratory, where she continues to study cellular senescence and has established a broad program in various aspects of aging. In 2002, she established a second laboratory at the Buck Institute for Age Research, the first free-standing institute devoted to aging research in the US. She is the recipient of two MERIT awards from the National Institute on Aging (1995, 2005), Senior Scholar award from the Ellison Medical Foundation, the AlliedSignal Award (1997), and awards from the Gerontological Society of America (1999) and American Federation for Aging Research (2002) for her research on aging. She serves on several editorial boards and advisory boards.

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Caleb Finch

University of Southern California


Dr. Finch is a Professor of Gerontology and Biological Sciences, and a founding member of the Departments of Molecular Biology and Neurobiology. He also holds adjunct appointments in the Dept of Psychology, Dept of Physiology and Dept of Neurology. He is also one of USC's 12 University Distinguished Professors. Dr. Finch's major research interest is the study of genomic controls of mammalian development and aging.

He received his undergraduate degree from Yale in 1961, where he majored in biophysics. He continued his work in cell biology and received his Ph.D. from Rockefeller University in 1969. Dr. Finch has received most of the major awards in biomedical gerontology, including the Robert W. Kleemeier Award of the Gerontological Society of America in 1985, the Sandoz Premier Prize by the International Geriatric Association in 1995, and the Irving Wright Award of AFAR and the Research Award of AGE in 1999. He has directed the NIA-funded Alzheimer Disease Research Center since 1984. Dr. Finch became a University Distinguished Professor in 1989, an honor held by twelve other professors at USC who contribute to multiple fields. Dr. Finch supervises three predoctoral fellows and four postdoctoral fellows and two research faculty. He is a member of ten editorial boards. He has written over 350 articles. In 1990 he published a major intellectual synthesis of aging: Longevity, Senescence, and the Genome.

In 1995, Dr. Finch and Robert Ricklefs published Aging: A Natural History (Scientific American Library Series) for the general public. It has been translated into five different languages. In 2000, Chance, Development, and Aging was co-authored with Thomas Kirkwood, Oxford Press. His most recent book, single authored, is The Biology of Human Longevity. Inflammation, Nutrition, and Aging in the Evolution of Lifespans. Academic Press 2007. His latest book, co-authored with Thomas Kirkwood was published by Oxford in 2000: Chance, Development, and Aging.

Finch and Eileen Crimmins have developed a unique interdisciplinary upper division course (Health, Stress, & Aging), which combines biomedical, demographic, and psychosocial perspectives.

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Marcia Haigis

Harvard University


Dr. Haigis is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology at Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA. She is also a member of the Paul F. Glenn Laboratories for the Biological Mechanisms of Aging. Her research focuses on understanding the role that mitochondria play in mammalian aging and disease. Following graduate training at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Biochemistry, Dr. Haigis studied the molecular role of SIR2 (silent information regulator) proteins during her postdoctoral research at MIT. SIR2 regulates aging in multiple model organisms, including yeast, worms and flies. Mammals have seven homologs, which may regulate mammalian physiology and cell survival. As a Brookdale Fellow, Dr. Haigis will study the role of a mitochondrial, mammalian SIR2 homolog, SIRT4, and mitochondrial ADP-ribosylation during changes in diet, stress and age. The goals of this project are to identify novel targets of SIRT4 and to characterize their role during aging.

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Janice Kiecolt-Glaser

The Ohio State University Medical Center


Janice Kiecolt-Glaser holds the S. Robert Davis Chair of Medicine in The Ohio State University College of Medicine; she is also Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology, and Director of the Division of Health Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry, as well as a member of the OSU Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research. Working in the area of psychoneuroimmunology, she has authored more than 190 articles, chapters, and books, most in collaboration with Dr. Ronald Glaser. Their studies have demonstrated important health consequences of stress, including slower wound healing and impaired vaccine responses in older adults; they have also shown that chronic stress substantially accelerates age-related changes in IL-6, a cytokine that has been linked to some cancers, cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes, osteoporosis, arthritis, and frailty and function decline. In addition, their programmatic work has focused on the ways in which personal relationships influence immune and endocrine function, and health. Her current studies address questions such as the psychological and physiological consequences of chronic stress in older adults, the ability of omega-3 supplementation to alter mood and inflammation, how genetic and environmental influences contribute to depression and immune dysregulation in older adults, the impact of major life stressors on the progression of basal cell carcinoma, the ability of mind-body interventions such as yoga to modulate endocrine and immune responses, and the role that proinflammatory cytokines play in combination with depression among cancer survivors who experience debilitating fatigue.

Most notable among her honors is her membership in the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. In addition, she is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, as well as the American Psychological Association; she received an Award for Outstanding Contributions to Health Psychology from the American Psychological Association's Division of Health Psychology, as well as the Developmental Health Psychology Award from the Divisions of Health Psychology and Adult Development and Aging. She is the past President of the Division of Health Psychology. The Psychoneuroimmunology Research Society gave her the Norman Cousins Award in 1998. She is listed in the Institute for Scientific Information ISIHighlyCited.com (among the world's most highly cited authors, a group comprising less than one half of one percent of all publishing researchers). She has served on the NIMH Mental Health and AIDS study section, as well as the editorial boards of 10 professional journals including the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Psychosomatic Medicine, and Health Psychology. Her research has been supported by a series of grants from the National Institutes of Health, including a MERIT award, as well as a Research Career Development Award, and she is currently a PI on NIH grants from the NCI, NIA, and NCCAM. Her first mystery novel, Detecting Lies, was published by Avon in 1997, and her second, Unconscious Truths, in 1998.

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David Laibson

Harvard University


Dr. David I. Laibson is a Professor of Economics at Harvard University and a Research Associate at the NBER. He is also a member of the Institutional Review Board at the NBER and the Data Monitoring Committee (external review Board) of the Health and Retirement Survey. His research is funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Aging, and the Social Security Administration. His research uses different methodological tools including laboratory experiments, field experiments, twin studies, genotyping, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), computer simulations, and theory. He is currently working in the fields of decision and cognitive sciences, neuroeconomics, behavioral finance, and genomics. Dr. Laibson received a BA in Economics from Harvard University (1988, Summa Cum Laude), an MSc in Econometrics and Mathematical Economics from the London School of Economics (1990, with distinction), and a PhD in Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1994).

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Ronald Lee

University of California, Berkeley


Professor Ronald Lee holds an M.A. in Demography from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard University. He spent a postdoctoral year at the National Institute of Demographic Studies (INED, France). After teaching for eight years at the University of Michigan in the Economics Department and working at the Populations Studies Center, he joined Demography at Berkeley in 1979, with a joint appointment in Economics. He currently holds the Edward G. and Nancy S. Jordan Endowed Chair in Economics. He has taught courses here in economic demography, population theory, population and economic development, demographic forecasting, population aging, indirect estimation, and research design, as well as a number of pro-seminars. Honors include Presidency of the Population Association of America, the Mindel C. Sheps Award for research in Mathematical Demography, the PAA Irene B. Taeuber Award for outstanding contributions in the field of demography. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a Corresponding member of the British Academy. He has chaired the population and social science study section for NIH and the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Population, and served on the National Advisory Committee on Aging (NIA Council). Professor Lee is also the Director of the Center on the Economics and Demography of Aging at U.C. Berkeley, funded by the National Institute of Aging. His current research includes including modeling and forecasting demographic time series, the evolutionary theory of life histories, population aging, Social Security, and intergenerational transfers. He enjoys tennis and hiking.

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Annamaria Lusardi

Dartmouth College


Annamaria Lusardi is professor of economics at Dartmouth College and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. She has taught at Dartmouth College, Princeton University, the University of Chicago Public Policy School and the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business. She is currently a visiting scholar at Harvard Business School. She has advised the U.S. Treasury, the U.S. Social Security Administration, the Dutch Central Bank, and the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center on issues related to financial literacy and saving. She is the recipient of the Fidelity Pyramid Prize, awarded to authors of published applied research that best helps address the goal of improving lifelong financial well-being for Americans. Dr. Lusardi holds a Ph.D. degree in Economics from Princeton University.

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Ellen Peters

University of Oregon


Ellen Peters is a Senior Research Scientist at Decision Research and holds a courtesy position in the Psychology Department at the University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon. Peters received her BSE and BS from the University of Pennsylvania in Systems Engineering and Marketing. She completed her MS and PhD in Psychology from the University of Oregon before joining Decision Research in 1998.

In her research, Dr. Peters focuses on how affective and deliberative processes help people to make decisions in an increasingly complex world. She studies decision making as an interaction of characteristics of the decision situation and characteristics of the individual and is currently funded by grants from the National Science Foundation and other federal and private agencies. Her research interests include decision making, affect and emotion, risk perception, numeracy, and aging, and she is particularly interested in the development and application of psychological theory to problems in health and financial domains. She was recently appointed as a voting member to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Risk Communication Advisory Committee.

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David Sinclair

Harvard Medical School


David Sinclair, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School, Director of the Paul F. Glenn Laboratories for the Molecular Biology of Aging, and co-founder of Sirtris Pharmaceuticals, Waltham, MA.

In 1997, Sinclair's research at M.I.T. identified the cause of aging in yeast, a first for any species. In May 2003, Sinclair's laboratory reported the discovery of conserved yeast "master regulatory gene" for aging in the journal Nature and his lab was the first to identify small molecules that can promote the survival of simple organisms such as yeast and flies by mimicking the effects of calorie restriction. He runs a lab of about 15 researchers and in the past two years his lab has published four times in Science and three times in Nature.

In 2004, Sinclair co-founded Sirtris Pharmaceuticals, Waltham, a company which has raised $45 million to develop drugs that harness the body's own defenses against disease. Fortune magazine identified Sirtris as one of the Top 25 "breakout" companies of 2005.

Sinclair obtained a BS with first-class honors at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, and received the Commonwealth Prize for his research. In 1995, he received a Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics and was awarded the Thompson Prize for best thesis work. He worked as a postdoctoral researcher with Dr. Leonard Guarente at M.I.T. being recruited to Harvard Medical School at the age of 29. Dr. Sinclair has received several additional awards including a Helen Hay Whitney Postdoctoral Award, and a Special Fellowship from the Leukemia Society, a Ludwig Scholarship, a Harvard-Armenise Fellowship, an American Association for Aging Research Fellowship, and is currently a New Scholar of the Ellison Medical Foundation. He recently won the Genzyme Outstanding Achievement in Biomedical Science Award for 2004.

Sinclair's work is featured in three books: Merchants of Immortality (S. Hall, 2003), Timeless Quest (L. Guarente, 2003), The Anti-Aging Pill (B. Sardi, 2004). His research has been covered by the world's print media including The New York Times (6 times), Washington Post, The Herald Tribune, Boston Globe, Newsweek (2 times), TIME, US News, New Scientist, The Scientist and Fortune. In 2003, one of his papers was considered a "Discovery of the Year" by Discover magazine. He is a recurring guest on television and radio, discussing topics from ranging from basic research to bioethics.

Dr. Sinclair lives in West Roxbury, Massachusetts with his wife and two daughters.

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James Smith

RAND Corporation


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