Home  Program  Speakers  Hotels  Venue  Posters  Contact  About  Downloads
The Speakers
Below find a list of all confirmed speakers who will be presenting at the Symposium.  Please be aware that in almost all cases, the descriptions below are not the words of the presenter. Abstracts from each presenter regarding their presentation will be in the program and on site as they become available.
Ronald Bailey - Reason Magazine
Award Winning Journalist and Author Focusing on Future Technologies and the Rights of Individuals
Session Time: Saturday - 5:45 PM
Level: General
Ronald Bailey In describing a family gathering in the future in his recent book "Liberation Biology", Ronald Bailey reflects....

"And great-great-great grandma at 150 years old, will be as vital, with muscle tone as firm and supple, skin as elastic and glowing as the thirty-year-old great-great-grandson with whom she's playing touch football..."

This is hardly what individuals see as a future for themselves today.  However, as people view the science and the problems of an aging society presented at this symposium, a future where getting older means spending a lot more time as a healthy and active person is more than a possibility, it is a necessity if we are to avoid the worst case scenarios of a globally aging population.  Ronald Bailey is an award winning journalist and author, writing for many magazines and appearing on numerous high-profile radio and television programs.    His presentation will deal with how technology, rather than limiting ones choices, provides options.  He will discuss a speculative world; one quite different than we may expect to see in our lifetimes, but then I'm sure many of the attendees of this symposium have seen many developments which would have seemed impossible only a few years ago.  Here's to a future of choices.

Ashley Bush MD PhD. - Mental Health Research Institute of Victoria
Clearing Your Head with PBT2
Damage: Junk Between Cells - Alzheimer's Plaques
Therapy: Dissolve With Novel Pharmaceutical Agent
Session Time: Friday - 2:30 PM
Level: Difficult
Ashley Bush  The pace of technology in the development of therapies to treat age-related disease is rapid and accelerating and the work of Harvard Professor Ashley Bush is a prime example of this exponential progress.  Back in September of 2003, the new techniques of high-throughput screening led Dr. Bush to state that within a year, 20 new-generation drugs would be discovered that could halt Alzheimer's, work that would have previously taken a century sandwiched into a single year.  Within a short period afterward Dr. Bush began building on promising results with a drug candidate and very recently announced some startling success with the compound called PBT2 which he developed in conjunction with the Australian company, Prana Biotechnology.  This remarkable molecule demonstrated, in mice designed to develop Alzheimer-like plaques, the ability to improve memory performance within 5 days of oral dosing, rapid reduction of plaques in their brain, and restoration of normal synapse function to plaque impaired neurons.  Very promising results indeed which show that removing the junk between cells is definitely one method that can be used to restore function to the aging brain suffering from this type of age-related disease.

Daniel Callahan PhD. - The Hastings Center
Bioethicist Who Questions the Ethics of Developing Anti-Aging Therapies
Session Time: Friday - 9:45 AM
Level: General
Daniel CallahanSymposium Feature
There are many ethical issues surrounding the development of technologies capable of extending the healthy human lifespan. Some of them are more compelling than others; for instance, could the resources used in their development be better used for something else?  What about the resulting overpopulation of the planet if people lived far longer than they do today?  Or the question as to whether the technologies will be only for the wealthy leaving the poor unable to afford them?   These questions are important, and many are not limited solely to technologies capable of extending life. The application of technology often involves questions such as these.  In one of the highlights of the symposium, renowned bioethicist, Daniel Callahan who is International Program Director of the Bioethics think tank The Hastings Center, has some deep reservations about the wisdom of developing life-extending technologies and will be sharing his thoughts during what will surely be an interesting and animated question and answer session with a philosophical opponent, Dr. Gregory Stock, who feels the exact opposite, that increasing longevity is not only desirable, it is inevitable.

Judith Campisi PhD. - Buck Institute
Old Bodies, Old Cells
Damage: Cells - Too Many - Senescent Cells
Therapy: Induced Cell Death (Apoptosis)
Session Time: Saturday - 10:45 AM
Level: Advanced
Judith CampisiJudith Campisi of the Buck Institute for Age Research studies cellular senescence. Cellular senescence is the phenomenon where cells lose the ability to divide.  When the DNA of a cell is damaged, (including shortened telomeres) cells either stop-dividing (senesce) or self-destruct (apoptosis) if the damage cannot be repaired.  Preventing cells from dividing when their DNA is damaged stops them from becoming malignant cancers so senescence is a potent tumor suppressor.  Unfortunately, senescent cells are resistant to normal cell-death signals and produce many substances which can cause damage to surrounding healthy cells.  Dr. Campisi studies the protein molecules which act as switches to regulate cellular senescence in hopes of discovering methods of either rescuing their function or inducing them to commit suicide.  Her work has led to a deeper understanding of the development of cancer in aging tissues as well as pointing to potential ways in which aging tissues can be rejuvenated.

“It’s a mistake to imagine that the process is so simple that we’re going to find the aging gene or the aging pathway or the magic bullet to postpone all aging,? says Campisi. “But I wouldn’t be working on aging if I thought it was so hopelessly complex that we’ll never understand it.? ref

Irina Conboy PhD. - Bioengineering, UC Berkley
Conservation of Aging Within Stem Cell Niches
Damage: Too Few Cells - Muscle Wasting
Therapy: Continuous Exposure to Young Blood Plasma
Session Time: Friday - 4:45 PM
Level: Difficult
Irina ConboyIrina Conboy of the University of California Bioengineering studies adult stem cells within the body which divide to replace old and worn out cells or in response to injury.   Her focus is on identifying and characterizing molecules that regulate the behavior of adult stem cells and understanding how this regulation changes with age. Her goal is to create molecular tools that can manipulate the regenerative properties of organ stem cells in vivo (in the body) and to enhance adult tissue repair. She demonstrated that aging muscle has the ability to regenerate almost as well as young muscle but this capacity for renewal is held back by a simple molecular switch.  By exposing the muscle of an old mouse to the blood plasma of a young mouse the brakes placed on the regenerative capacity of the old muscle were removed allowing muscle to grow.  Further preliminary results indicate that the capacity for renewal in other tissues may be similarly restricted with the same approach capable of releasing their natural regenerative potential.  Showing that the ability to regenerate is not only possible, but robust in older animals, opens the door for the possibility of similar findings in humans.

Aubrey de Grey PhD. (Cambridge)
Biological Theorist Proposes an Engineering Approach to Repairing the Damage of Aging
Session Time: Friday - 12:45 PM
Level: Advanced
Aubrey De GreyAubrey de Grey is Co-Founder and Chief Scientist of the Methuselah Foundation and Mprize.  He is a biological theoretician, bringing together research from many areas of study to formulate a group of proposals referred to as "Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence" (SENS) which is an outline of ways which new technologies can remove or repair the damage that accumulates with age.  In essence, the proposals center on the idea that at the root of all age-related disease is an accumulation of only a few types of damage which over time, eventually exceeds a threshold and interferes with normal function, producing disease. This symposium format follows this line of reasoning and presents technologies that will allow an engineering approach to the removal or repair of this damage, restoring health to aging tissues.   Dr. de Grey's presentation will involve describing the seven forms of damage that he maintains are the ones largely responsible for the problems that accompany aging, setting the stage for the sessions which follow that discuss each type of damage and ways of preventing or removing it.   Dr. de Grey spoke at the University of Alberta in early 2004 at a well-attended special seminar put on by the Department of Biochemistry.  


Tarek El-Bialy PhD. - University of Alberta
Using Ultrasound to Stimulate Bone Growth
Damage: Too Few Cells - Bone and Tooth Loss
Therapy: Ultrasound Induced Bone and Tooth Growth
Session Time: Saturday - 8:30 AM
Level: Advanced
Tarek El-BialyBiomedical Engineering is a fast growing field.  Not only are new technologies being developed which will lead to the ability to grow entire organs for transplant outside of the body, but other technologies are set to cause regeneration of tissues 'in situ', within the body itself.  The University of Alberta is at the forefront in this research with the work of Dr. Tarek El-Bialy.   Dr. El-Bialy has recently shown the ability of ultrasonic waves to induce the growth of teeth and bone and is helping to develop a device where people who are prone to root damage, for instance by the use of braces, or gum disease, can prevent the loss of bone and help protect themselves.  As an example of the power of the synergy of interdisciplinary work, Dr. El-Bialy is collaborating with Prof. Jie Chen and Prof. Ying Tsui of the Engineering Faculty of the UofA to develop a device small enough to fit into a person's mouth.  This is just another example of how historically distinct fields will come together to apply the new discoveries in their areas to old problems. 

Janet Fast PhD. - University of Alberta
Hidden Costs/Invisible Contributions: Two Faces of Population Aging
Session Time: Friday - 8:45 AM
Level: General
Janet FastDr. Fast researches family and consumer policy issues. A major theme is the paid and unpaid work of family members. She currently co-leads a large international, multidisciplinary team investigating the juxtaposition of costs and contributions of adults with chronic illness and disability. On the cost side, the team is examining the consequences of recent health and social policy reform for family and friends who care for frail seniors or other adults with chronic illness and disability. Of particular interest are the economic consequences of having to make adjustments to one’s job in order to provide care. On the contributions side, they are exploring the productive activities of older adults and adults with chronic illness and disability. Dr. Fast also conducts research on workplace policy as it relates to family members’ ability to balance paid work and family demands.

Luigi Fontana MD PhD-Washington University in St. Louis, & Italian National Institute of Health
Is Caloric Restriction the Key to a Longer and Healthier Life?
Damage: Many Types
Therapy: Caloric Restriction Shows Attentuation of Biomarkers of Aging
Session Time: Friday - 11:15 PM
Level: Difficult
Luigi Fontana Everyone is probably aware that eating healthy nutrient-dense foods is good for you, and that obesity has unhealthy consequences in terms of being at risk for developing diabetes, cardiovascular disease and numerous other diseases. Not many people know however that reducing calorie intake can actually slow aging.   It has been known for decades that reducing calories increases the lifespan of every organism that has been tested. Despite this, people aren't emptying their refrigerators.  It seems the long-term promise of extended healthy life does not weigh well against one's taste buds and hunger.  The fact is, humans have only recently had the luxury of having enough to eat.  Evolving over thousands of years of deprivation, our bodies operate best with lower amounts of food available. So even when faced with a time of plenty, our appetites do not adjust to what is healthy instead continuing to operate as if any day may bring famine. It's not a surprise then, that when faced with periods of plenty, our bodies decide to play couch potato and bask in their good fortune, much to our ill-health.  Dr. Luigi Fontana has analyzed how humans respond to calorie restricted with adequate nutrition diets and has shown that the heart benefits from caloric restriction, but even more, he showed that calorie restricted humans undergo the same metabolic and hormonal changes that have been found in long-lived calorie restricted rodents. These intriguing results may lead to the development of treatments able to mimic the effects of caloric restriction, without the hardship of depriving ourselves of good taste.

David M Gardiner PhD. - UC Irvine
Regeneration in Vertebrates - Teasing Out the Secrets of Limb Regeneration
Damage: Too Few Cells - All Tissues
Therapy: Induction of Regenerative Pathways
Session Time: Saturday - 4:45 PM
Level: Advanced
David GardinerWouldn't you like to be able to, like Wolverine in the X-Men, repair or grow back missing parts, even a leg or arm?  David Gardiner studies the ability of a type of salamander called the axolotl to regenerate.  The key has been found in the ability of the cells at the site of injury to return to an earlier state of development, to "de-differentiate", so that they can follow an alternative developmental path.  In essence these cells respond to the signals of injury by reversing and replaying the program that runs during embryonic development, replaying the same program that forms the limb in the developing animal.  This program always exists in the cell, because it had to in order for the limb to grow in the first place.  Dr. Gardiner believes that humans share much in common with the axolotl in regards to the signals which turn on regeneration.  His presentation will discuss these signals and their potential huge impact on human health and what it could mean to the suffering of an aging population.

Pierrette Gaudreau PhD - University of Montreal
Nutrition as a Determinant of Successful Aging - The Quebec Longitudinal Study NuAge
Damage: Various
Therapy: Nutrition and Exercise
Session Time: Saturday - 12:45 PM
Level: Advanced
Pierrette_Gaudreau"You are what you eat" is a truism that many understand instinctively but is one which Pierrette Gaudreau studies scientifically. Dr. Gaudreau is Chief of the Laboratory of the Neuroendocrinology of Aging at the Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal Research Centre. She was Co-Director of the Nutrition and Successful Aging Research Section of the Quebec Network for Research on Aging from 1998 to 2006. In 2003 Dr. Gaudreau became involved in a major Canadian Insitutes of Health Strategic Initiative called the Quebec Longitudinal Study on Nutrition and Aging (NuAge). The only one of its kind to date in Canada, the study involves a cohort of 900 healthy men and 900 healthy women born between 1921 and 1935 who are being monitored annually for a period of 5 years. Each year, a set of biological, nutritional, functional, medical, and social traits is measured for each participant. Dr. Gaudreau will discuss some of the interesting first results emerging from this study, future directions, and the implications for healthy aging.

Geoff Goldspink PhD. - University College London
Understanding regulation of muscle strength and muscle wasting at the gene level
Damage: Too Few Cells - Muscle Wasting
Therapy: Pharmaceutical Intervention/Gene Therapy with Protein that Induces Muscle Regeneration
Session Time: Saturday - 10:15 AM
Level: Advanced
Geoff GoldspinkDr Geoff Goldspink PhD. of the University College of London has been working to develop pharmaceutical methods of increasing muscle and preventing the onset of age-related muscle loss, commonly known as sarcopenia. He has isolated a protein that is produced in response to muscle injury which when injected into aging muscle increases its regenerative capacity and prevents atrophy.  Dr. Goldspink has been featured in many news stories, not for the ability of his discovery to keep the elderly mobile and strong, but more for the worry that athletes might abuse his method in order to gain some advantage in competition of professional sport.  Loss of mobility in the aged is however a much more pressing issue than the potential problems which athletic abuse would create.

Howard Haimes PhD. - Alteon Pharmaceuticals
Hardening of the Arteries - Breaking the Ties that Bind
Damage: Protein X-Links
Therapy: Small Molecule Therapy
Session Time: Friday - 1:15 PM
Level: Difficult
Howard HaimesAs we age, long lived proteins are modified by abnormal non-enzymatic crosslinks causing inflammation and scarring of tissues and organs. This process is accelerated in diabetes and is responsible for premature atherosclerosis and cardiovascular complications in this population.  One of the most significant chemical reactions which can damage a protein is the abnormal crosslinking of a molecule by carbohydrate crosslinks. This attachment is called "glycation" and happens largely randomly but accumulates with time and is accelerated in diabetes.  Proteins that make up cardiovascular and renal systems significantly accumulate a lot ofthese abnormal crosslinks and result in excess production of extracellular molecules and inflammation leading to scarring and loss of function. The result is high strain on the cardiovascular system which may lead to many complications including heart failure. Molecules which can reverse glycation are being sought and alagebrium is undergoing development for diastolic heart failure and diabetic nephropathy.  Howard Haimes, manages the preclinical sciences for company Alteon and this molecule is the focus of intense investigation. His presentation will deal with how this molecule has been shown to be effective in reversing this damage, thus restoring functional and structural components to the cardiovascular system.

Ellen Heber-Katz PhD. - Wistar Institute
Recent Results in the MRL Mouse System
Damage: Too Few Cells - All Tissues
Therapy: Induction of Regenerative Pathways
Session Time: Saturday - 5:15 PM
Level: Advanced
Ellen Heber-KatzDr. Ellen Heber-Katz PhD. of the Wistar Institute is a Professor in the Molecular Oncogenesis Program.  Her laboratory studies a diverse range of topics centering on the genetics of autoimmunity, wound healing, and regeneration.  In the process of carrying out an autoimmunity experiment, the Heber-Katz research team noted that a particular strain of mouse that had been developed was able to regenerate itself in much the same way that amphibians are able.  The mouse, named the MRL mouse, was able to regenerate amazingly well, regenerating skin, and puncture wounds with no sign of scarring.  Damage to the right ventricle of the heart likewise healed without scarring.  This amazing ability to regenerate was thought to have been lost in evolution when amphibians and mammals separated.  The arrival of the MRL mouse however shows that this ability is not lost, only dormant, in mice, and perhaps in humans as well.  Studying the genetics of regeneration in the MRL mouse may lead to new possibilities for regenerative therapies.

Russell Hepple PhD. - U of Calgary
Mechanisms by which Caloric Restriction Better Preserves Skeletal Muscle Mass & Function with Aging
Damage: Too Few Cells - Muscle Wasting and Loss of Strength
Therapy: Caloric Restriction
Session Time: Friday - 10:45 PM
Level: Advanced
Russell Hepple One of the most visible consequences of aging is a loss of muscle mass.
This occurs due to an increased susceptibility of aged muscle to daily wear and tear damage, an impaired capacity to repair that damage, and a gradual loss of muscle cells. Not only do these changes gradually erode our capacity for movement but, in advanced cases, the muscle loss and associated weakness can lead to frailty, requiring some elderly to receive institutionalized care to carry out even basic tasks of daily living. Understanding the basis for the changes in aged muscle has been the driving force behind the research of Russ Hepple, an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Faculty of Medicine from the University of Calgary Dr. Hepple's work was featured on CBC News and has shown that the life long restriction in the number of calories in the diet, a practice known as "caloric restriction", can markedly slow the progression of age-related muscle loss and completely preserves muscle function. This presentation will examine the basis upon which caloric restriction attains its impressive protection of aged muscles, with an eye towards future therapies that don't require one to endure constant hunger pangs

Chris Heward PhD. - Kronos Science Laboratories
The Role of Nutrition and Exercise In Achieving Optimal Health and Longevity
Damage: Various
Therapy: Healthy Living
Session Time: Saturday - 8:00 AM
Level: Advanced
The future of regenerative medicine is bright with promise. Stem cells, gene therapies and other methods offer clear possibilities of reversing the debilitation that increases with age. However it is clearly better to avoid getting yourself into the situation of needing these therapies in the first place and lifestyle choices are a large part of side-stepping the worst landmines which lay in wait as we get older. Dr. Heward is the President of Kronos Science Laboratory, a leading provider of diagnostic testing for physiological markers of aging. He has done extensive research into the practical application of current scientific knowledge to leading a healthy and long life using the means we currently have at hand and will address these tried and true methods and their application in what is sure to be an very informative session for those of us interested in what we can do now to stay healthy in order to take advantage of the therapies which are still under development.

Jay Jerome PhD. - Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Atherosclerosis and Lysosomal Junk
Damage: Junk - Inside Cells
Therapy: Various
Session Time: Friday - 3:30 PM
Level: Advanced
Jay JeromeAlmost all cells of the human body have an internal body called the lysosome that acts like a stomach.  Material taken up from the outside of the cell, and some internal cellular structures which need to be degraded,  are transported into the lysosome to be digested by enzymes.  The material transported into the lysosome is broken down into smaller components that the cell can use for its own purposes,  however, this digestion is not always complete and a small amount of indigestible residue is left behind.  This residue accumulates over time eventually causing malfunction and aging of the cell, no matter what tissue it is in.   Dr. Jerome's lab studies the role of dysfunction of lysosomes in cardiovascular tissue in the production of atherosclerosis where the lysosomes of macrophages, (cells of the immune system), and smooth muscle cells of the artery wall become bloated with indigestible cholesterol.

James Joseph PhD. - Tufts University
The Beneficial Effects of Fruits in Brain Aging and Behavior: Putative Effects on Signalling
Damage: Junk Between Cells - Alzheimer Plaques
Therapy: Nutritional Intervention
Session Time: Friday - 2:00 PM
Level: Advanced
James JosephDr. James Joseph PhD. of Tufts University studies the unique effects of a diet high in fruits and vegetables in preventing age-related disease and the impact on behavior with a primary focus the improvement in neurological function and reduction in Alzheimer's symptoms.  His lab has shown that blueberry supplementation was able to offset the deleterious consequences on behavior associated with amyloid plaques in mice prone to developing these deposits.  The mechanisms by which the active molecules within blueberries are able to increase the generation of new neurons in the brain as well as the pathways by which these molecules help to enhance neuronal signaling and ultimately communication is an area of intense study in Dr. Joseph's lab with results which can potentially be applied to immediately decrease the impact of aging on behavior.

Konstantin Khrapko PhD. - Harvard Medical
Mitochondrial DNA Mutations and Their Possible Role in Brain Aging
Damage: Mitochondrial DNA Mutations
Therapy: Move DNA Out of Harms Way
Session Time: Saturday - 3:30 PM
Level: Difficult
Konstantin KhrapkoIt is likely that nearly everyone has heard or read somewhere about how anti-oxidants protect your tissues from damage.  But what is this damage and what is the 'oxidant' that needs an 'anti'?  Mitochondria are the power plants of the cell, burning sugar to produce chemical energy the cell needs to survive.  Mitochondria were once bacteria that were engulfed by a cell but instead of being eaten for food made a deal with their host and developed a relationship of exchanging energy for protection.  Evolving from bacteria, it is not really a surprise that mitochondria contains a small remnant of bacterial DNA themselves.  This mitochondrial DNA produces the proteins needed to burn sugars and create energy.  In the process of burning sugar however, toxic by-products called free-radicals, or 'oxidants', damage nearby structures of the cell and one of the closest structures is the very DNA encoding enzymes responsible for energy production.  When mitochondrial DNA gets damaged, as it does over time with age, the energy regulation of the cell may potentially go out of balance giving rise to a bewildering variety of diseases.

Konstantin Khrapko has studied mitochondrial DNA damage and found it to be significantly associated with the neurodegeneration of the substantia nigra, the part of the brain whose malfunction causes Parkinson's.  The finding provides support that age-related dysfunction in some tissues arises from ongoing mitochondrial DNA damage.  New techniques which can repair this damage are under investigation.  One idea is to move the remaining mitochondrial genes to the nucleus where they are better protected while other ideas center on repairing the damage in place.

Patrick Lee PhD. - Dalhousie University
Viruses as cancer therapy
Damage: DNA Mutations
Therapy: Reovirus mediated cancer cell death
Session Time: Saturday - 1:45 PM
Level: Advanced
Patrick Lee - Dalhousie UniversityCancers are rarely life-threatening until they metastasize or break apart and set-up shop in other parts of the body, creating a multi-site problem.  Current cancer therapies have a much more difficult job of eradicating tumours once they have move from their primary location.  New methods need to be developed which can hunt down the cancer, no matter where it may hide and kill those cells without harming surrounding tissue.  No matter what the therapy, it needs to be able to distinguish between healthy and tumour cells.  There already exist some significant differences between normal and cancer cells, and these can be exploited in new therapies.  For instance, normally our immune system is always examining our systems for cancer cells and removing them as they occur.  Occasionally however, cancer cells evade this surveillance and can become large life-threatening tumours.  New methods for helping the immune system identify and kill cancer cells that have escaped detection are being developed and that is the focus of Dr. Lee's presentation.  He has found that a particular virus, the Reovirus, is able to selectively infect cancer cells  much more than normal cells.  Once the cancer cell is infected and producing virus proteins, this alerts the immune system which then springs into action to remove the virus infected cell removing the cancer threat along with it.  As a new cutting-edge therapy, it has some remarkable advantages over current methods which often do more harm than good.

Cynthia Lemere PhD. - Brigham and Women's Hospital/Harvard Medical School
Immunotherapy and Alzheimer's
Damage: Junk Between Cells - Alzheimer Plaques
Therapy: Antibody Induced Clearance
Session Time: Friday - 3:00 PM
Level: Difficult
Cynthia LemereAs many people are already aware, Alzheimer's disease is associated with the accumulation of a protein in the brain known as "A-beta amyloid" which form aggregations called "plaques". These plaques are thought be associated with the death of neurons and the deterioration of behavior and cognitive ability.  It is one hypothesis that removal of the plaques in the brain can slow the progression of Alzheimer's and even perhaps restore function. Dr. Lemere's research is focused on the development of a vaccine that will help the body remove these plaques and prevent Alzheimer's from developing in the first place.  This helps the immune system recognize the plaques as foreign material which is then degraded and removed. In 2005 she showed that the level of amyloid plaque that accumulates in the brain of a species of monkey was successfully reduced using this antibody therapy, paving the way for potential treatments in humans.  She is now testing novel vaccines in mouse models of Alzheimer's disease and non-human primates.

Bernard Lemire PhD. - University of Alberta
Mitochondria - Central Players in Longevity
Damage: Various
Session Time: Saturday - 3:00 PM
Level: Advanced
Bernard LemireMitochondria play a central role in cellular and organismal health. Impaired mitochondrial function will affect at least four important metabolic or regulatory pathways critical for normal cell function. First, mitochondria are largely responsible for capturing the energy released by the oxidation of the foods we eat. Mutations or conditions that limit mitochondrial energy metabolism can have severe consequences for cells, particularly those cells with high energy demands such as those of endocrine, nervous or cardiac systems. Second, mitochondrial dysfunction upsets the normal balance of cellular metabolites, compromising numerous metabolic pathways. In addition, the regulation of cellular ion concentrations and ion transport are disturbed. Third, mitochondria are the major source of reactive oxygen species (ROS) that are accidentally generated during fuel oxidation and energy production. When mitochondria are damaged, the rate of ROS production can increase significantly. ROS can react indiscriminately with cellular proteins, lipids or nucleic acids. When DNA is damaged, mutations can result. These mutations can impair gene expression, protein synthesis and the metabolic processes those proteins participate in. Mutations can also lead to unregulated cell division and tumor formation. Fourth, mitochondria are instrumental in regulating and executing the pathways of programmed cell death or apoptosis. Impaired mitochondrial function can sensitize cells to the induction of apoptosis, leading to the loss of tissue function. Accelerated apoptotic cell death is closely linked to the development and progression of several neurodegenerative disorders, while the failure of the apoptotic program is a hallmark of cancer. Fully understanding the central role of mitochondria in cell health is essential to preventing mitochondria-related disease and to developing effective therapies.

Evangelos Michelakis MD - U of A
Small Molecules and Suicide Switches
Damage: Cancer - Various Forms
Therapy: Small Molecule Induction of Apoptosis
Session Time: Saturday - 2:15 PM
Level: Advanced
Evangelos MichelakisIt is said that sometimes the answer to complex problems is simple, and so it might be with a treatment for some forms of cancer.  Dr. Michelakis has been working with a simple molecule called di-chloro-acetic-acid (DCA) which is really vinegar with two chlorines added to it.  This small molecule has a potent effect on the metabolism of cancer cells, but not nearly so much on normal cells.  The metabolism of cancer cells is almost always sluggish when compared with normal cells.  This is because the power generators of the cancer cell, the mitochondria,  are operating way below normal capacity.  One reason cancer cells may require this is because properly operating mitochondria also give the signal for  a cell to commit suicide (apoptosis) when things go wrong.  If a mitochondria is shut-down, or nearly so, it cannot initiate the self-destruct sequence when damage is sensed and thus cancers can grow.  The small molecule that Dr. Michelakis works with causes the cancer cell to turn its mitochondria back on and in doing so, the cancer cells flip the suicide switch.  Dr. Michelakis was recently acknowledged for his work with this promising, inexpensive, and relatively benign molecule in the treatment of cancer.

Bill Moore-Kilgannon - Public Interest Alberta
Alberta's Seniors Deserve Better
Session Time: Friday - 9:45 AM
Level: General
Bill Moore-KilgannonMost seniors are living longer and healthier lives and with emerging medical technologies will be living healthier longer. However, as seniors reach a point in their lives where they are no longer able to independently maintain themselves, many people require care and daily support from our healthcare system. While the Alberta government does have a variety of services and supports for our seniors, many seniors and their families are deeply concerned about the current state of seniors care. The quality of care has been an important political issue in Alberta since the Provincial Auditor release his report on the many problems he uncovered in examining the seniors care system. The member organizations of Public Interest Alberta Seniors Task Force have been advocating for a number of improvements to the level of seniors care in Alberta for the past year. Bill Moore-Kilgannon, the Executive Director of Public Interest Alberta will provide an overview of the key issues of seniors care and discus the importance of developing a quality public continuing care system, so Alberta Seniors are able to get the care they deserve.

Janko Nikolich-Zugich MD. PhD - Oregon Health & Science
The Aging Immune System - Too Many Clones
Damage: Too Many Cells - Immune System Senescence
Therapy: Tailored Hormone and Vaccine Treatments
Session Time: Saturday - 11:15 AM
Level: Difficult
Janko Nikolich-ZugichAlthough the elderly immune system is capable of mounting an effective response to infection in some individuals, other individuals experience less effective responses, and the range of infections that are controlled diminishes with age. (read more...) This diminished 'repertoire' is a result of several forces, including diminished renewal of the immune system and chronic stimulation of the immune system by the same pathogen, eventually producing immune system cells which can no longer respond effectively to infection by that pathogen.   Janko Nikolich-Zugich studies the relationship between immunity and pathogens such as viruses over the lifespan of the organism.  Specifically he studies how chronic stimulation of the immune system with the same pathogen over time can cause an imbalance in the immune response.  Diagnosis of the most critical, primary defects in innate and adaptive immunity of old age is being followed by studies to repair or modulate those defects by immune intervention as well as by tailored, rational vaccine design. Many of those efforts integrate initial studies in mice with subsequent experiments in primates, to culminate in future clinical application studies in humans in hopes of helping to reestablish a robust immune response in the aged.

Amit Patel PhD. - U of Pittsburgh Medical Center
Adult Stem Cells and Heart Repair
Damage: Cells - Too Few - Heart Disease
Therapy: Adult Stem Cell Therapy with Patient's Own Stem Cells
Session Time: Friday - 5:15 PM
Level: Difficult
Amit PatelIt is difficult to read the news today without some mention of "stem cells".   The magnitude of this interest is justified by the growing realization of the power and role these cells play in the health and well-being of the body.  A stem cell is a "blank slate" which has not yet decided what it wants to be.  Stem cells are thus able to divide to form many different kinds of tissue.  Throughout our lives, cells in our body die and are replaced, and it is adult stem cells which do the replacing.   Adult stem cells occupy special 'niches' within the body which we are just beginning to discover.  When the proper signal is received, for example when an injury occurs, the adult stem cells spring into action and divide to produce cells of the desired tissue type required.   To be able to use these cells and control their awesome regenerative capability is one of the most sought after advances in modern medicine.  Amit Patel of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center is at the forefront of the usage of adult stem cell therapy for heart disease.  Located at the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, Dr. Patel along with a team of multi-national surgeons pioneered a minimally invasive direct surgical implantation of stems cells into a patient with end stage heart failure in March of 2004.  The findings of this research offer the first convincing evidence that transplantation of adult stem cells, which may promote growth of blood vessels and heart muscle, can be a viable treatment for congestive heart failure.

Kevin Perrott
The Mprize - Fame and Fortune for the Oldest Mouse
Session Time: Saturday - 4:15 PM
Level: General
The Methuselah Mouse Prize is a multi-million dollar award given to the research team able to break the world's record for the extending the healthy lifespan of a mouse.

Doros Platika MD. - Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse
Commercializing Regenerative Medicine and the Supercentenarian Research Foundation
Session Time: Fri - 9:00 AM & Sat - 4:00 PM
Level: General
Doros PlatikaIncluded among his many involvements is the over $100 Million biotechnology economic development initiative called the Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse which represents a unique University, Government, and Industry collaboration that has resulted in the creation and/or growth of over 170 companies.  Doros Platika is also helping to lead one of the most unique efforts dealing with the study of aging in human history, the Supercentenarian Research Foundation (SRF), which is dedicated to the study of the extreme limits of human longevity. There are, at the time of this writing, 76 verified people worldwide over the age of 110 years old, the limit currently set to qualify as a supercentenarian.  These individuals provide a unique opportunity to examine what factors influence human lifespan and they comprise a valuable population.  Unfortunately,  because the high mortality rate at such great ages is high, time is of the essence, getting in touch with them and setting up a study that involves these individuals is a very delicate and time-consuming process itself.  With careful consideration for human aspects inherent in such an undertaking, the SRF builds a relationship with the supercentenarian and their families in a manner which honors and respects their privacy and wishes.  To date, information gained by this thoughtful approach to the analysis of the physiology of these rare examples of extreme longevity has yielded some striking results which underline just how important a resource these rare few provide.  Dr. Platika will be providing some insights into these discoveries and what future directions they might lead in pushing the limit of healthy human longevity even further.

Karl Riabowol PhD. - University of Calgary
Modern Cancer Therapies - Stepping Stones to a Cancer Free Future
Damage: Chromosomal DNA Damage - Cancer
Therapy: Various
Session Time: Saturday - 1:15 PM
Level: Advanced
Karl RiabowolOne of the most significant challenges to an aging body is cancer.  Other threats can cause chronic disease and dysfunction, but cancer in comparison is often deadly, not just debilitating. It can kill much faster than simply the accumulation of junk inside the cell.  Everyone likely knows that cancer is caused by cells that are out-of-control and divide non-stop. They do not respond to the normal signals which prevent cell division or cause the cell to self-destruct when things go horribly wrong.  There are many reasons for cells to go on this rampage, but one of the major ones is damage to the DNA of the chromosomes in the nucleus of the cell (interactive animated cell).  Usually when chromosomal DNA is damaged, a sensor system in the cell called p53 shuts the cell down (senescence) and makes it impossible for the cell to divide.  Mutations in p53 disable this protective mechanism and the brakes on cell division are removed, and this can often lead to cancer when other mutations put cell division into gear.  We all have heard of chemotherapy and radiation for treatment of cancer but these are crude technologies and often do more harm than good.  New methods of fighting cancer have been, and are being developed which do not involve the current rough treatment that must be endured by cancer patients.  Karl Riabowol is one of the leading  experts in cancer and cellular senescence in Canada.  His presentation will provide some background to the biochemical underpinnings of the development of cancer and some of the newest technologies being used to fight and win against this disease that afflicts so many of us as we age.

Bruce Rittmann PhD. - The Biodesign Institute
Engineering Lysosomal Junk - LysoSENS
Damage: Junk Inside Cells - All Tissues
Therapy: Bioremediation with Lysosome Directed Bacterial Enzymes
Session Time: Friday - 4:00 PM
Level: Advanced
Bruce RittmannSeveral diseases of old age, including atherosclerosis, macular degeneration and neurodegenerative disorders are associated with the intracellular accumulation of substances that impair cellular function and viability.  The residue that accumulates in lysosomes, also known as 'lipofuscin', may have similar deleterious effects and is one of the most universal markers of aging.  Although lipofuscin accumulates in all cells, it is most readily visible in the skin where it shows up as "age spots".  Reversing this accumulation may thus be valuable, but has proven challenging, doubtless because the substances that accumulate are inherently hard to degrade.  Director of the Center for Environmental Biotechnology, Bruce Rittmann and his co-workers suggest a radically new approach, augmenting humans' natural degradative machinery with microbial enzymes which are capable of digesting this material.  This research is funded directly by The Methuselah Foundation. ref

Gregory Stock PhD. - UCLA
Alzheimer's Researcher and Advocate of the Development of Healthy Life-Extension Technologies
Session Time: Saturday - 9:45 AM
Level: General
Gregory StockSymposium Feature
As the development of new technologies accelerates and we gain more and more control over our environment and our own biology, people will begin to use these new abilities for the betterment of their circumstance and the reduction of the suffering of themselves and their loved-ones. We are indeed at a watershed moment in the history of humanity and the years to come will prove what direction we will choose to take.  Gregory Stock has described his thoughts on how technology is set to transform the future of medicine and society on more than 1000 radio and television programs including Oprah Winfrey and Larry King.  As the Director of the Program on Medicine Technology and Society at UCLA, Dr. Stock has written widely on how humans will use technologies, when they become safe and cheap enough, to extend life and modify basic human biology to their advantage.  In his book "Redesigning Humans" Dr. Stock describes how new abilities will allow people to choose the genetics of their children to maximize their ability to be happy and completive in an increasingly complex world.  Gregory Stock feels that the enhancement of human longevity is a welcome and necessary development while his antagonist,  Daniel Callahan, feels somewhat differently, saying that we should not be so quick to jump at the chance to bring about such events and that many ethical issues are involved in pursuing maximum longevity.  The two of these renowned thinkers will be face-to-face in the Ethics of Life-Extension session which will provide much food for thought to those who have not yet turned their thoughts to this increasing possibility.

Laurel Strain PhD. - U of A, Alberta Center on Aging
Myths and Realities of Aging
Session Time: Friday - 8:45 AM
Level: General
Laurel StrainOlder people are often depicted as isolated, sick, decrepit, and heavy users of the health care system.  In this presentation, Dr. Strain will provide a critical examination of selected myths and the research evidence that supports or refutes them. The need for realistic portrayals of aging that recognize the heterogeneity of older adults will be discussed.

Hasan Uludag PhD. - UofA
Scaffolds, Growth Factors and Tissue Constructs
Damage: Too Few Cells - General Loss
Therapy: Tissue Engineering
Session Time: Saturday - 9:00 AM
Level: Advanced
Hasan UludagRegenerative medicine aims to utilize the innate regenerative ability existent in our bodies for a therapeutic outcome. In contrast to drug therapies that alleviate the disease symptoms, interventions based on regenerative approaches aim to induce normal, functional tissues at sites where the tissue integrity is compromised. Regenerative approaches have relied on three fundamental elements for intervention, namely (i) biomaterial scaffolds acting as a mimic of extracellular matrix, (ii) growth factors capable of modulating a wide variety of cellular activities, and (iii) specific cells ultimately responsible for the establishment of the normal tissue structure. Designing scaffolds tailored for growth factors and/or cell delivery has been a fruitful endeavor; such systems have been utilized ex vivo to construct functional tissues (bone, cartilage, liver, bladder, etc), as well as be implanted in clinics to induce new tissue growth, in particular functional (i.e., load-bearing) bone tissue. This presentation will provide an overview of these efforts, highlighting the critical requirements of scaffold design for a functional outcome. Current state-of-the-art on engineering of various tissues will be provided.

Huber Warner PhD. - U of Minnesota
We get older, damage happens, we age, but how are these things related?
Session Time: Friday - 8:05 AM
Level: Advanced
Huber WarnerHuber Warner is Associate Dean (Research) at the University of Minnesota and has been involved in aging research since1984.  He is a distinguished Advisory Board Member of the Canadian Institute of Health Research - Institute of Aging.   Dr. Warner was an Associate Director of the NIH's  National Institute of Aging - and directed the Biology Aging program from 2000 to 2005, which gives him a broad perspective on the fundamental challenges of age-related disease.  With hundreds of writings and publications on the subject, Dr. Warner is a respected authority on basic aging research who also has a deep understanding of the biology of aging.  He will provide us with a  basic overview of the relationship between time, biological damage and the aging process and the how new research can provide insights to support the rationale behind the proposals of The Longevity Dividend.

Michael West PhD. - Advanced Cell Technology
Embryonic Stem Cells and Nuclear Transfer: The Challenges and Opportunities of Regenerative Medicine
Damage: Too Few Cells - All Tissues
Therapy: Therapeutic Cloning and Tissue Engineering
Session Time: Saturday - 9:30 AM
Level: Advanced
Mike WestThe field of regenerative medicine is moving forward so quickly that what were once recent discoveries rapidly become the foundation for the next generation of technologies, and Michael West has been there from the start.  He is without question a pioneer in the field of regenerative medicine who is leading ground-breaking efforts in the development of technologies that could see the growth of tissues and even whole organs that can be used to help millions of suffering individuals. He founded one of the oldest biotech companies, Geron Corporation, in Menlo Park, California and from 1990 to 1998 he initiated programs dealing with telomeres, the protective ends of chromosomes which shorten with each cell division and like a timed fuse, eventually prevent further cell division and the possible development of cancer.  Moving from Geron to his most recent company Advanced Cell Technology, Dr. West has managed research that has led to the first isolation of human embryonic stem cell lines.  These amazing, multi-functional cells are able to become any tissue type in the human body.  It is thought that in the future research into these cells will allow the creation of entire tissue-matched organs, and the removal of the need for transplant waiting lists.  His presentation will deal with tissue engineering as well as many other related aspects of this promising technology.