Forster awarded Denham Harman Award for aging research

May 7, 2015

Michael Forster UNTHSCFor more than three decades, Michael Forster, PhD, has studied ways to slow the aging process and help people live longer, healthier lives.

In May, the American Aging Association will present Dr. Forster, Chair of Pharmacology & Neuroscience, with the Denham Harman Research Award. Named after the association’s co-founder, the award honors those who have made significant contributions to biomedical aging research.

In keeping with the association’s mission, Dr. Forster said one of his goals has been to promote aging research and help the public recognize the difference between “science and snake oil.”

“As a function of chronological aging, biological changes occur, and those vulnerabilities set the stage for diseases such as Alzheimer’s and diabetes,” he said. “By understanding the primary forces of aging and slowing them down, we may be able to prevent or treat these diseases.”

Much of Dr. Forster’s research has focused on the role of oxidative stress in age-associated brain dysfunction and in the anti-aging effects of caloric restriction. Along with UNTHSC colleagues, Dr. Forster also has studied the role exercise plays in delaying aging.

“Exercise and calorie restriction appear to be ways that the aging process can be regulated,” he said. “We’re also studying whether the longer a person’s weight is maintained at a high level, the greater the amount of aging as measured by life-span.”

Dr. Forster said he always has considered the Denham Award an unreachable honor.

This lifetime achievement in aging research award is a huge honor, said Meharvan Singh, PhD, Dean of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.

“It pays tribute to Dr. Forster’s career-long commitment to the study of brain aging and the significant discoveries he has made along the way,” Dr. Singh said. “I can’t help but feel an immense sense of pride to have Dr. Forster as a colleague and a member of the UNTHSC faculty.”

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