A recent grant from the Auen Foundation allowed the University of Southern California Davis School of Gerontology to purchase essential research equipment, which will assist the biology team as it unravels details about diseases that affect older adults.
The Real-Time qPCR, also known as the DNA copying machine, allows researchers and research assistants, many of whom are students, to create model systems to determine how environmental changes influence gene changes. This technique, called polymerase chain reaction (PCR), earned its creators a Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1993. PCR maps the human genome, allowing researchers to precisely quantify the number of copies of genes in a particular biological sample.
“This grant from the Auen Foundation is not only a gift to our program, but it is a gift to mankind as we unlock secrets that could help people live longer, more productive lives,” said Pinchas Cohen, M.D. Dean, USC Davis School of Gerontology.
“Our nearly two-decades-old partnership with the USC Davis School of Gerontology is extremely important to us,” said Catharine Reed, Auen Foundation Program Officer. “The research and findings discovered at the school help us fulfill the foundation’s mission to enhance the lives of the elderly.”
The grant also supplied the lab with a new Cell Culture Incubator, which allows researchers to control the oxygen levels to that inside a human body. This process allows for a more accurate picture of how cells naturally grow and reproduce.
“This equipment is as essential to a lab as a doorknob,” said Caleb “Tuck” Finch, Ph.D. Professor of Gerontology and Biological Science at USC Davis School of Gerontology. “Aging is a complex biological process that is influenced by both genes and the environment. With the Real-Time qPCR and the incubators now in place, our biology faculty, researchers and research assistants are able to more accurately predict susceptibilities to many age-related diseases.”
The new equipment will enhance the university’s research into the causes and potential treatments for diseases including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Founded in 1975, the USC Davis School of Gerontology is the oldest and largest school of its type in the world. It offers a comprehensive selection of gerontology degree programs with ongoing research on aging. For more information about the USC Davis School of Gerontology or its research, visit www.gero.usc.edu or call
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