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Internationally Recognized Researchers on Aging and Mobility Speak at the Fifth Annual Festival of Science

December 08, 2017

Luigi Ferrucci, MD, PhD

From Basic Science to the Clinic, University Of Maryland School of Medicine Researchers Are on the Cutting Edge of the Field

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Leading scientists who study aging and mobility discussed their cutting-edge work at the fifth annual University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) Festival of Science, a one-day celebration of research at the school held December 14 in Leadership Hall.

The conference featured UMSOM’s top researchers working on the front lines of science to unravel crucial problems involving aging and mobility. The conference highlighted new research in the area of bone, muscle and joint function in normal aging and after hip fracture, and the role of exercise and nutrition in muscle recovery. The conference also addressed the roles of vascular and neurologic diseases and their impact on balance, mobility and cognition.





The Festival of Science is a one-day celebration of research at UMSOM. It featured a series of faculty presentations showcasing innovative work by UMSOM scientists. The Festival of Science was hosted by Dean E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MPH, who is also Executive Vice President of Medical Affairs at the University of Maryland and the John Z. and Akiko Bowers Distinguished Professor at UM SOM. Also in attendance were UMSOM Scientific Advisory Council, which provides the school with big-picture advice on research (see below for more information on each council member).

The keynote speaker was Luigi Ferrucci, MD, PhD, the scientific director of the National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health. A geriatrician and epidemiologist, he focuses on the causal pathways leading to progressive physical and cognitive decline in older people.

‌‌‌‌Jay Magaziner, PhD, MSHyg, Professor and Chair, Department of Epidemiology & Public Health and Director, Center for Research on Aging, kicked off the scientific sessions with an overview of the current state of research on aging at UMSOM.

From the findings of the Baltimore Hip Studies, which identified the consequences of becoming immobile suddenly, to new research on osteoarthritis, Parkinson’s and vascular disease, the consequences of falls and the importance of balance in preventing them, and the basic science of bone, muscle, cardiac function and metabolism,  we heard about the enormous range of groundbreaking research on mobility disability going on here,” said Dr. Magaziner. “This event really underscores how our researchers are making new discoveries related to aging that have the potential to improve the lives of millions of older people.”


The opening session, “Bones, Muscles, Joints, Energetics, and Mobility,” included the following scientists:

‌Denise L. Orwig, PhD,
Associate Professor,
Department of Epidemiology & Public Health


Marc C. Hochberg, MD, MPH,
Professor, Department of Medicine, Division Head,
Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology


Alice S. Ryan, PhD,
Professor, Department of Medicine

The second session, “Microtubule Mechanotransduction in Aging Heart, Skeletal Muscle, and Bone,” included the following scientists:

‌W. Jonathan Lederer, MD, PhD,
Professor, Department of Physiology and Director,
Center for Biomedical Engineering & Technology

Christopher W. Ward, PhD,
Associate Professor, Department of Organizational Systems and Adult Health,
University of Maryland School of Nursing, Associate Professor, Department of Orthopaedics

Joseph P. Stains, PhD,
Associate Professor, Department of Orthopaedics and
Interim Director of Musculoskeletal Research

The afternoon session, “Brain, Balance, Disease and Mobility,” included the following scientists:

‌Mark Rogers, PT, PhD,
Professor and Chair,
Department Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Science


‌Lisa M. Shulman, MD,
Eugenia Brin Professorship in Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders,
Professor, Department of Neurology and Director of the Division of Movement Disorders and Director,
University of Maryland Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center

‌Li-Qun Zhang, PhD,
Department of Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Science


‌Kelly P. Westlake, PhD, MSc, PT,
Assistant Professor,
Department of Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Science


‌Brajesh K. Lal, MBBS,
Department of Surgery


 Scientific Advisory Council (SAC)

The external Scientific Advisory Council (SAC), which consists of internationally acclaimed biomedical researchers and physician-scientists, provides critical advice on UMSOM’s research, programs and plans, as well as guidance and support for junior faculty presenters.

Ralph Snyderman, MD, SAC Chair
Chancellor Emeritus, Duke University & James B. Duke Professor of Medicine
Former President & CEO, Duke University Health System
Former Chair, AAMC
Member, NAM

Rita Colwell, PhD
Professor and Chair, US Life Sciences at UMCP
Former Director, National Science Foundation
2006 National Medal of Science


Carol Greider, PhD
Professor & Chair, Molecular Biology at Johns Hopkins University
2009 Nobel Prize Winner for Medicine
Member, NAM


George C. Hill, PhD
Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Pathology,
Microbiology and Immunology, Vanderbilt University


Philip Needleman, PhD
President/CEO, St. Louis Science Center
Member, NAS & NAM
Former President of Searle R&D


Gilbert Omenn, MD, PhD
The Harold T. Shapiro Distinguished University Professor of Internal Medicine, Human Genetics, and Public Health at the University of Michigan, as well as the founder and director of the school’s Center for Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics
Leader, Human Proteome Project, an international effort to develop a detailed understanding of the myriad proteins in the human body.

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Festival Participants

Festival Participants

Festival Participants

Festival Participants

Festival Participants

Festival Participants

Festival Participants


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