Research Conference to Explore Cognitive Health and Disease
UT Dallas Center for Vital Longevity to Host Neuroscientists from U.S., Canada and Europe
Nov. 14, 2012
Leading cognitive neuroscientists from around the world will gather Jan. 26-28 to present their latest discoveries about how the brain and cognition change with age at the 2013 Dallas Aging and Cognition Conference (Dallas ACC), hosted by the University’s Center for Vital Longevity.
Dr. Denise Park and Dr. Michael Rugg are co-directors of the Center for Vital Longevity, the host of the conference.
The theme of the 2013 conference is “Predicting Successful and Unsuccessful Aging: Early Neural Markers of Decline and Disease.”
“There is growing consensus that our best hope for preventing the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s disease and other age-related dementias is early detection and intervention,” says Dr. Michael Rugg, co-director of the Center for Vital Longevity and Distinguished Chair in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences at UT Dallas. “The theme of this year’s conference reflects the vast amount of research now focused on identifying and treating those most at risk for cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s long before outward symptoms appear.”
Researchers at the Center for Vital Longevity are contributing vital knowledge to these efforts in a number of ways. They are using brain-imaging techniques to identify a neural signature in middle age that will help predict who will not age well cognitively, to investigate how memories are formed and retrieved and how these processes change with age, and to test whether specific interventions, such as computer-based training, can improve cognitive performance in older adults.
This year’s conference speakers include center scientists as well as researchers from institutions across the United States, Canada and Europe. Institutions represented include Harvard Medical School, Columbia University, the Mayo Clinic, the National Institute on Aging, UT Southwestern Medical Center, the University of Zürich, the Rotman Research Institute in Ontario, and the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin.
“The Dallas ACC is designed not only to help disseminate new scientific insights about the aging brain, but to provide an enriching experience for graduate students and postdoctoral scientists,” said Dr. Denise Park, center co-director and Distinguished University Chair in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences. The conference affords these young scientists the opportunity to present their own research in poster presentations and to interact closely with leading experts in the field.
Dr. Sara Haber decided to pursue post-doctoral studies at the center after attending the conference in 2011.
This emphasis on training the next generation of aging-mind researchers, combined with an impressive record of scientific achievement, has been instrumental to the Center for Vital Longevity’s rapid growth and establishment as an international leader in the science of the aging mind.
Dr. Sara Haber first attended the Dallas ACC in 2011, while she was a graduate student finishing her PhD in cognitive neuroscience at Rice University in Houston. “I was amazed at the caliber of speakers, the intimacy of the conference, and the quality of the research being presented. Ultimately, my experience at the conference facilitated my decision to join Dr. Park’s research lab to pursue my postdoctoral studies,” she said.
“That the best and brightest young scientists are choosing to come to our center to train and to pursue their careers as independent investigators is extremely gratifying,” said Park.
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