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Allison and Austad lead team to identify top aging and energetics research categories

November 7, 2014

David Allison, PhD

A team of UAB investigators—led by David B. Allison, PhD, distinguished professor and director of the Office of Energetics and Nutrition Obesity Research Center (NORC), and Steven N. Austad, PhD, distinguished professor and chair in the Department of Biology—systematically assayed and catalogued the top research priorities identified in the 40 most-cited publications in aging and energetics over the last four years. The results would be useful to the scientific community at large, they believed. Co-investigators are Lisa H. Antoinedoctoral student in Interdisciplinary Engineering and student assistant in the Office of Energetics; Tonia S. Schwartz, PhD, postdoctoral trainee in the Office of Energetics; professors Scott W. Ballinger, PhD, Victor M. Darley-Usmar, PhD, and Joseph L. Messina, PhD, and associate professor Jianhua Zhang, PhD, in the Division of Molecular & Cellular Pathology; Marcas M. Bamman, PhD, professor in the Department of Cell, Developmental and Integrative Biology; Peggy R. Biga, PhD, assistant professor, Mickie L. Powell, PhD, research assistant professor, Trygve O. Tollefsbol, PhD, professor, and Stephen A. Watts, PhD, professor, in the Department of Biology; Gordon Fisher, PhD, assistant professor, Gary R. Hunter, PhD, distinguished professor, and Eric P. Plaisance, PhD, assistant professor, in the Department of Human Studies; Julia M. Gohlke, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences; Ganesh V. Halade, PhD, assistant professor in theDivision of Cardiovascular Disease; John L. Hartman, MD, associate professor in the Department of Genetics; Tim R. Nagy, PhD, professor, Daniel L. Smith, Jr., PhD, assistant professor, and Yongbin Yang, graduate research assistant, in the Department of Nutrition Sciences; Kevin A. Roth, MD, PhD, professor and chair in the Department of Pathology; Michael W. Sandel, PhD, postdoctoral trainee in the Department of Biostatistics, Section on Statistical Genetics; and J. David Sweatt, PhD, professor and chair in the Department of Neurobiology.


The researchers conducted the search for papers on aging and energetics in Scopus, ranked the selected papers by the number of times each was cited, and then chose the ten most-cited in the four years from 2010 to 2013. Results identified ten leading research categories: (1) calorie restriction (CR) longevity response; (2) role of mTOR (mechanistic target of Rapamycin) and related factors in lifespan extension; (3) nutrient effects beyond energy (especially resveratrol, omega-3 fatty acids, and selected amino acids); (4) autophagy and increased longevity and health; (5) aging-associated predictors of chronic disease; (6) use and effects of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs); (7) telomeres relative to aging and energetics; (8) accretion and effects of body fat; (9) the aging heart; and (10) mitochondria, reactive oxygen species, and cellular energetics.

The team concluded that the field is rich with exciting opportunities to build upon existing knowledge about the relationships among aging, energetics, and the mechanisms that connect them.

To read “Aging and Energetics’ ‘Top 40’ Future Research Opportunities 2010-2013,” published in September 2014 in the journal F1000Research, click here.