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Jun 27, 2007

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Geriatric Medicine

Researcher at the Institute for Aging Research Receives N...

ELIZABETH SAMELSON, PhD, RECEIVES NIH GRANT BOSTON – June 29, 2007- Elizabeth (Lisa) Samelson, a researcher at the Institute for Aging Research (IFAR) at Hebrew SeniorLife and Harvard Medical School has received a grant of $480,965 for a 5-year study from National Institutes of Health (NIH)/ National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases to study a protein called osteoprotegerin. Osteoporosis and atherosclerosis often occur together in older individuals. The purpose of this study is to examine the role of osteoprotegerin in explaining the connection between bone loss and build-up of calcified plaque in blood vessels. The research involves using data collected from the Framingham Study, the oldest, ongoing, medical study ever conducted. "The Institute for Aging Research at Hebrew SeniorLife is an outstanding environment to conduct scientific research," said Samelson. " Our scientists have performed seminal studies in the areas of osteoporosis and fracture prevention that have affected care here at our center as well as geriatric care across the nation. By helping to identify possible causes shared by osteoporosis and atherosclerosis, the NIH grant could lead to future therapies to treat and prevent both of these important chronic diseases." Dr. Samelson has a PhD in epidemiology from Columbia University and a Post Doctorate from Boston University Medical Center. She also has an MPH and BS from the University of Illinois, and has been associated with IFAR for 5 years. According to Dr. Lewis Lipsitz, Co-Director of IFAR, the flattened NIH budget translates into a significant reduction in research funding and more difficulty for talented investigators to continue their work. Foundation, business, and individual giving are picking up some of the slack, but without the base of the federal dollars, it is exceedingly difficult to leverage other sources of income. This is true across the country for all research programs. Samelson's grant reflects the quality of her work and the regard to which Hebrew SeniorLife's Institute for Aging Research is held. Scientists at the Institute conduct rigorous medical and social studies, leading the way in developing strategies for maximizing individuals' strength, vigor and physical well-being, as well as cognitive and functional independence, in late life. "It's interesting to note," said Lipsitz, "that Lisa Samelson, who is a rising star in her field, with one of the highest scores for her NIH proposal, had to wait before NIH was able to identify funds to support her outstanding project. All of us here at IFAR are delighted she will be with to continue her important work." About Hebrew Senior Life Hebrew SeniorLife is a 100+-year-old organization committed to maximizing quality of life of seniors through an integrated network of housing, health care, research and teaching programs, serving more than 3,500 seniors annually in the Greater Boston area. About IFAR IFAR is the largest gerontological research facility located in an applied setting. This environment provides a valuable opportunity to conduct rigorous clinical investigations into disabling geriatric syndromes and readily apply the findings to the care of older patients.  (Jun 27, 2007 | post #1)