MBL’s “Science Before Supper” to Present Talk on Aging at Falmouth Public Library, January 9

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Contact: Susan Joslin
508-289-7281; sjoslin@mbl.edu

jonathan_gitlin.2MBL, WOODS HOLE, MA—Jonathan Gitlin, the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) Deputy Director of Research and Programs, will explore aspects of the biology of aging in his talk titled, “It’s Not the Age, It’s the Miles: Understanding Biological Time,” the second presentation of the MBL Associates’ “Science Before Supper” series of talks co-sponsored by the Falmouth Public Library. Gitlin’s talk will be held on January 9 at 5:00 PM in the library’s Hermann Foundation Meeting Room, 300 Main Street, Falmouth. The short presentation will be followed by questions and answers. All talks in the series are specifically designed for “non-scientists” and are free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.

The longevity of an organism results from the interplay of genetics and the environment. Under extreme environmental conditions, some organisms demonstrate responses that result in a state of suspended animation, arresting fundamental biological processes to extend lifespan and achieve survival.  A striking example of suspended animation of relevance to human biology and disease is observed in the zebrafish, where developing embryos with established cardiac function, blood flow, and central nervous system activity can completely arrest development for an extended period in the absence of oxygen and then subsequently rapidly recover, complete development, and achieve normal reproductive lifespans.

In his lecture, Gitlin will explore the meaning of biological time in the context of such studies and examine recent work at the MBL that is revealing the mechanisms of suspended animation.

Gitlin joined the MBL in April 2012.  He is Director of the MBL’s Eugene Bell Center for Regenerative Biology and Tissue Engineering and an expert in human genetic diseases.

Prior to joining the MBL he was on the faculty at Harvard Medical School, Washington University School of Medicine, and, most recently, at Vanderbilt University where he served as the James C. Overall Professor & Chair of the Department of Pediatrics. Gitlin received his B.S. and M.D. from the University of Pittsburgh and completed his residency and fellowship training at Boston Children’s Hospital.   He is the author of more than 150 papers and has received numerous professional honors including the E. Mead Johnson Award for Excellence in Research, Chancellor’s Hartwell Prize from Washington University, and an NIH Merit Award. He is a fellow of the AAAS and a member of the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine.

For more information about the Science Before Supper series, contact the MBL Communications Office at (508) 289-7423; comm@mbl.edu or the Falmouth Library at (508) 457-2555.

Remaining talks for this season include:

February 13, 2014
“Welcome to the Plastisphere: the New World of Microbes Living on Ocean Plastic”
Linda Amaral-Zettler, Associate Scientist, The Josephine Bay Paul Center for Comparative Molecular Biology and Evolution, MBL

March 13, 2014
“Toadfish in Space”
Stephen Highstein, Senior Scientist; Associate Program Director, Program in Sensory Physiology and Behavior, MBL


The Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) is dedicated to scientific discovery and improving the human condition through research and education in biology, biomedicine, and environmental science. Founded in Woods Hole, Massachusetts in 1888, the MBL is a private, nonprofit institution and an affiliate of the University of Chicago.

The MBL Associates are a group of individuals and businesses that support the scientific mission of the MBL through their gifts to the Annual Fund. The Associates sponsor educational and research programs for the MBL and raise funds for special projects. In addition, they operate the MBL Gift Shop, located on Water Street in Woods Hole, the profits from which support scientific fellowships.