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THE NEWSLETTER OF THE UF INSTITUTE ON AGING   |   WINTER 2014   |   WWW.AGING.UFL.EDU

2014 has so far been a year of growth, which is fitting, because we will soon leave our single-digit years. The Institute on Aging and the UF Department of Aging and Geriatric Research will turn 10 years old in early 2015. As we hit that milestone, our decade of hard work is coming to fruition. We have settled into our research space and begun building a more robust educational program. While our graduate certificate and master’s degree programs lift off the ground, we now turn our attention to providing the best geriatric care possible to our patients in the UF Health Senior Care Clinic as well as older adults who enter UF Health Shands Hospital. Over the summer, we welcomed Jacobo Hincapie Echeverri, M.D., and Jianhong (Crystal) Hua, M.D. Hincapie Echeverri is a geriatrician embedded within the emergency room who cares for elderly patients as soon as they come through our doors. Hua applies her spectrum of experience — from pediatrics to geriatrics — to the care of patients within the UF Health Senior Care Clinic. She is also the embedded geriatrician for the hospital’s inpatient care. While we strengthen care for our older patients, our research program is becoming ever stronger. The department of aging and geriatric research faculty members have seen many successes over this year in garnering grant funding to support research projects. We have grown by leaps and bounds these past 10 years. We look forward to more in the next 10. Sincerely,

Marco Pahor, M.D. Director, UF Institute on Aging


T H E N E W S L E T T E R O F T H E U F I N S T I T U T E O N A G I N G   |  W I N T E R 2014   |  W W W. A G I N G . U F L . E D U

Christiaan Leeuwenburgh, Ph.D.

In July, UF Health announced it received a $12 million five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health to create a one-of-a-kind sepsis treatment center. Sepsis, a systemic inflammatory response the body sometimes has to bacteria or other germs, can be one of the most devastating issues critically ill patients face — particularly aging patients. The UF Sepsis and Critical Illness Research Center, the first of its kind in the nation, is funded by a “P50” grant, NIH P50GM111152, an NIH funding mechanism for specialized centers. It will study long-term outcomes in patients treated for sepsis in the trauma intensive care units at UF Health Shands Hospital, with the goal of developing clinical solutions for sepsis as well as illnesses that stem from it. The center reflects a partnership between between Frederick A. Moore, M.D., chief of acute care surgery at UF Health and Lyle (“Linc”) Moldawer, Ph.D., professor and vice chair of research in the department of surgery, along with several other UF Health colleagues. The center will place a major focus on a condition identified by UF researchers called persistent inflammation, immunosuppression and catabolism syndrome, or PICS. The syndrome most often affects elderly patients who are successfully treated for sepsis.

Stephen Anton, Ph.D.

Frederick A. Moore, M.D.

Christiaan Leeuwenburgh, Ph.D., a professor and chief of the division of biology of aging in the UF department of aging and geriatric research; Anna-Maria Joseph, Ph.D., an assistant scientist with the division of biology of aging; and Stephen Anton, Ph.D., chief of the division of clinical research, will be involved in one of the center’s projects. They will explore the possible role of immature immune system cells called myeloid-derived suppressor cells in the onset of PICS. Leeuwenburgh will also be addressing muscle wasting within patients recovering from sepsis and PICS.

THE FALL STUDY For adults aged 65 and older, falls can be debilitating. Each year, a third of older adults falls, and a third of those falls result in moderate to severe injuries, according to the National Institutes of Health.

trial will take place at 10 field sites and will be led by Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School; the Yale School of Medicine and the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles.

The NIH and the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute together has funded a clinical trial that will examine how to prevent and modify the risk of falls. The

The UF Institute on Aging will be coordinating the implementation of additional studies that will branch off the original trial.


The Institute on Aging has welcomed two new staff members to its faculty. The physicians Jacobo Hincapie Echeverri, M.D., and Jianhong (Crystal) Hua, M.D., help the IOA expand geriatric care throughout UF Health Shands Hospital. Hincapie Echeverri, most recently a fellow in geriatric medicine at Harvard Medical School, began in July as the embedded geriatrician in the emergency room. His position brings geriatric care to frail older patients as soon as they enter the hospital. Hua provides primary care to outpatient patients within the UF Health Senior Care Clinic and serves as embedded geriatrician for inpatient medical services, working closely with the hospital’s medicine and teaching services. Hua recently completed a geriatric medicine fellowship with the department of aging and geriatric research within the Institute on Aging. Her background includes experience as a pediatric surgeon and as a family practitioner.

Jacobo Hincapie Echeverri, M.D. Jianhong Hua, M.D.

CLINICAL RESEARCH: NIH AND NSF GRANTS Previous studies have shown that when younger adults as well as patients with schizophrenia and autism are given the hormone oxytocin they are better able to read social cues. Now, Natalie Ebner, Ph.D., a researcher within the departments of psychology, and aging and geriatric research, has received a grant from the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute on Aging, R24 AGO39350, to study how oxytocin might help older adults

navigate social situations. Ebner, together with her colleague from the UF department of electrical and computer engineering, Daniela Oliveira, Ph.D., has also been awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation, NSF/SESO140624, to study how to keep older adults safe from scams online. The research team will develop a computer tool that will help users identify hackers’ scams.

For more information or to enroll, call 352-273-2141, 352-273-5919 or 866-286-7730. Ask about the “oxytocin aging study” or the “Internet study.”

Natalie Ebner, Ph.D.


THE NEWSLETTER OF THE UF INSTITUTE ON AGING   |   WINTER 2014   |   WWW.AGING.UFL.EDU

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GERIATRIC RESEARCH EDUCATION

EARCH STUDIES

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ARE YOU INTERESTED IN PARTICIPATING IN A CURRENT OR FUTURE UF INSTITUTE ON AGING STUDY? ENROLL TODAY IN OUR INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARD-APPROVED RECRUITMENT REGISTRY. TO ENROLL OR LEARN MORE, EMAIL RECRUIT@AGING.UFL.EDU OR CALL CARDIE DIELSCHNEIDER

Why Every Dollar Counts Unlocking life’s mysteries — particularly the secrets of how long and how well we live — is the distinct focus of the University of Florida Institute on Aging. Our scientists and physicians are dedicated to achieving a better understanding of the biological mechanisms of aging and of how we can maintain or enhance our physical independence and cognitive abilities. Private philanthropy is essential to our work; your gift, regardless of size, can make the critical difference in funding new scientific endeavors. Imagine discoveries that fuel positive cellular changes or lead to new therapies to help rehabilitate aging bones and joints ... private philanthropy makes all this and much more possible.

AT 352-273-5919 OR

866-386-7730 (TOLL-FREE).

To learn more about how you can invest in a healthier and more independent tomorrow for us all, please contact Mary Ann Kiely at 352-273-9620 or mkiely@ufl.edu.

UF Institute on Aging Newsletter Winter 2014  
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