Research Training in Biogerontology Program

The NIA-funded T32 Research Training in Biogerontology Program, formerly known as "Biomedical Research Training in the Biology of Aging", was established in 1984. This program, directed by Scott Pletcher, PhD, provides training and financial support for predoctoral and postdoctoral students committed to laboratory studies of the cellular and molecular basis of aging and the links between the aging process and late-life illnesses and disabilities.

Program Goal

The main goal of the T32 Research Training in Biogerontology Program is to select, train, and prepare graduate students and postdoctoral fellows for careers as leaders in biological and biomedical aging research.

Program Benefits

Our program is managed within the U-M Geriatrics Center which provides an exceptionally rich, intellectual environment for research and training in the biology of aging. In addition, the program offers:

  • Exposure to the traditional rigors of disciplinary research training
  • Sensitization to the multidimensional nature of the process of biological aging
  • Exposure to affiliated faculty from various disciplines
  • Seminar series, journal club, poster sessions, and annual research retreats

Research Areas

The Research Training in Biogerontology Program emphasizes studies of the biology of the aging process and its relation to human diseases of late life. Areas of particular interest include:

  • Genetic control of aging in mice
  • Effects of aging on muscle structure and function
  • Regulation of balance, glucose homeostasis, and blood pressure in aging people
  • Effects of aging on bone, brain, and stem cell function
  • Genetic studies of aging in fruit flies and C. elegans

Preceptors and Core Facilities

The preceptor group is comprised of over 20 faculty members who come from a wide range of departments and divisions at Michigan Medicine, including Internal Medicine, Pathology, Kinesiology, Orthopedic Surgery, Neurology, Human Genetics, Molecular and Integrative Physiology, Mechanical Engineering, Physics, Cell and Developmental Biology, Urology, and Biological Chemistry.

Core facilities include specialized laboratories and consultant services in muscle biology, production and analysis of transgenic and mutant mice, biostatistics and experimental design, gene expression analysis, development of new animal models, use of human subjects, comparative biology of aging, and genetic studies in invertebrate models.

Required Activities

Our training program provides students with several valuable training experiences.

How to Apply

Although program activities are open to all students and postdoctoral fellows who are interested in aging research, financial support can also be provided to six predoctoral and three postdoctoral fellows each year. Predoctoral applicants are typically supported for two years after they achieve candidacy in their home department; postdoctoral fellows typically receive two years of financial support.

Applications are evaluated for academic excellence, commitment of mentor and trainee to biogerontology, and likelihood that the project will produce exciting research results. Because of Federal regulations, only US citizens and permanent residents are eligible for support from the NIA training grant.

Individuals interested in applying for support should forward a letter of interest, a letter of support from the mentor, a one-page description of the proposed research project, a complete curriculum vitae and bibliography, graduate transcript, and at least two additional letters of recommendation to:

Ursula Kotzabassi
109 Zina Pitcher Place
University of Michigan Geriatrics Center
3016 BSRB
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2200