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Initiated by the Robert N. Butler Columbia Aging Center, the University Seminar on the Future of Aging Research has as its mission to provide an interactive interdisciplinary forum for scientists to engage with one another, to generate new ideas and new methods, and to stimulate new approaches to the science of aging. The format emphasizes dynamic exchanges and dialogue, catalyzed by brief presentations of new work by CU/CUMC researchers. Discussions are sparked by leaders in complimentary areas spanning context, individual, and organismal/biological perspectives.

Jennifer Manly

Elizabeth Bradshaw

Kavita Sivaramakrishnan

Matthew Coulson

Meeting Schedule

09/18/2023 Faculty House, Columbia University
5:00 PM
Zebrafish as a translational genomics model for neuroregeneration and its implications in age-related neurodegeneration
Caghan Kizil, Taub Institute


We hypothesize that age- and pathology-related reduction in neurogenesis might be a culprit of the etiology of Alzheimer’s disease. Since neurogenesis relates to the brain resilience, restoring healthy levels of neurogenesis could have beneficial effects healthy aging. Using zebrafish, mouse, and novel 3D human neurogenesis assay systems as models to investigate the vertebrate neural stem cells, which we believe pose a unique hope to bring back lost neurons or strengthen brain wiring, we aim to find ways to restore brain function in AD through enhancing neurogenesis and neural regeneration.

12/04/2023 Faculty House, Columbia University
5:00 PM
Human Caregiving and Affective Brain Development
Nim Tottenham, Columbia University


Humans have the most complex emotional repertoire in the animal kingdom, but it takes a very long time to reach full adult functioning. This prolonged development maximizes its chances of being influenced by social environments. Variations in early species-typical experiences, such as parental caregiving, reveal the profound effects of such influences on the development of neurobiology involved in emotional learning and regulation (e.g., amygdala, hippocampus, medial prefrontal cortex). This talk will focus on both typical development as well as development following caregiving-related stress showing that early life environments may influence development through learning and modification of developmental trajectories. These age-related changes will be discussed in terms of potential developmental sensitive periods for environmental influence.

02/26/2024 Faculty House, Columbia University
5:00 PM
Teresa Ghilarducci, The New School

03/25/2024 Faculty House, Columbia University
5:00 PM
Non-atherosclerotic brain arterial aging as a catalyst of brain aging
José Gutierrez, Columbia University


Brain arterial aging consists of several sometimes overlapping phenotypes such as atherosclerosis, calcifications and dilatation. Non-atherosclerotic brain arterial aging consists of elastin loss, disruption of the internal elastic lamina, luminal dilatation and concentric intima thickening. Non-atherosclerotic aging is associated with a higher risk of incident dementia, especially Alzheimer’s disease, in several populations. Possible mechanisms relating non-atherosclerotic brain arterial aging with neurodegeneration include disruption of the brain-blood barrier via altered hemodynamics, increased neuroinflammation and/or disruption of the lymphatic system.