The NIA supported Animal Models Research Network under the leadership of Jenny Tung, Associate Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology and Biology at Duke University, Alessandro Bartolomucci, Associate Professor of Integrative Biology and Physiology at University of Minnesota, and Kathleen Mullan Harris, James E. Haar Distinguished Professor of Sociology at UNC, has recently selected its inaugural cohort of Bruce McEwen Career Development Fellows. These awards support outstanding junior scientists with high potential to advance the use of animal models or comparative approaches to understand the social determinants of health and aging.
Selected fellows include Gregory Albery, Postdoctoral Student, Department of Biology, Georgetown University, who plans to use the long-term study of red deer on the Isle of Rum to investigate how natural helminth infection changes as individuals age and become less social; Nick Keiser, Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, University of Florida, who uses the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster and an entomopathogenic fungus, to test the degree to which sex and age disparities in disease vary across host genotypes and explain group-level differences in outbreak dynamics; Camille Testard, Predoctoral Student, Neurosciences Graduate Group, University of Pennsylvania, who plans to investigate whether social support can protect the brain from stress-induced neurological changes in a population of rhesus macaques who survived a devastating hurricane; and Nicole Thompson Gonzales, Postdoctoral Student, Department of Anthropology, University of New Mexico, who aims to use the blue monkeys of the Kibale National Forest, Uganda as a model for human health inequalities that result from social exclusion.
The Animal Models Network has also awarded smaller Travel Awards to support the work of three additional early stage investigators: Tobin Hammer, Postdoctoral Student, Department of Integrative Biology, University of Texas at Austin, who seeks to gain insights into the links between social behaviors, microbiome stability and host health among bumble bees; Daniella Chusyd, Postdoctoral Student, School of Public Health, Indiana University, who utilizes orphaned elephants to examine the relationship between early life trauma and health trajectories; and Laura Newman, Predoctoral Student, Biological Anthropology, New York University, who hopes to clarify how social integration affects the molecular mechanisms involved in the aging process and in turn influences aging phenotypes among rhesus macaques of different ages.
Please see the Center for Population Health and Aging (CPHA) website for more information on the Animal Model Network and Biodemography research portfolio.