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

MBL Hosts Colloquium on the Biology of Aging
Prominent rheumatologist to discuss connection between periodontal disease and rheumatoid arthritis

WOODS HOLE, MA—Leading U.S. scholars who study the basic science of lifespan development processes and age-related diseases and disabilities will present their research at the Colloquium on the Biology of Aging, August 9-11 at the MBL (Marine Biological Laboratory) in Woods Hole.

The meeting, sponsored by The Ellison Medical Foundation and the MBL, will be held in the Lillie Auditorium, 7 MBL Street, Woods Hole. It is free and open to the public. A detailed program can be found at www.mbl.edu/aging.

As part of the colloquium, Dr. Gerald Weissmann, noted rheumatlogist, author, research professor, and director of the Biotechnology Study Center at New York University School of Medicine will deliver the 4th Annual Joshua Lederberg Lecture on Thursday, August 11 at 8:00 PM in the Lillie Auditorium.

Joshua Lederberg was a Nobel Prize-winning biologist and founding chair of the Ellison Medical Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Board. In 2001, Lederberg coined the term microbiome to "signify the ecological community of commensal, symbiotic, and pathogenic microorganisms that literally share our body space.”

In his lecture, titled "The Biochemistry of Inflammation: from Microciona to the Microbiome," Dr. Weissmann will explore the striking similarities in how alarm signals—like inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis—are transduced in humans and simple organisms like marine sponges. He will also discuss his recent analysis of the microbiome in rheumatoid arthritis, which has provided evidence that the bacteria that causes gingivitis, or gum disease, may be inciting agent of autoimmunity in human arthritis.

Gerald Weissmann is Research Professor of Medicine (Emeritus), the Director of the Biotechnology Study Center at NYU School of Medicine and editor-in chief of The FASEB Journal. He is also chair of the committee for the Prix Galien, the international award for pharmaceutical achievement, considered as the industry’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize and the highest accolade for pharmaceutical research and development. A former president of the American College of Rheumatology and the Harvey Society, Dr. Weissmann is also a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the New York Academy of Sciences. He is a foreign member of Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei and The Royal Society of Medicine.

Dr. Weissmann is on the Advisory Board of The Ellison Medical Foundation. He was co-founder (with E.C. Whitehead) and a Director of The Liposome Company from 1982 to 2000. Dr. Weissmann has a longtime association with the MBL. He is a former investigator and instructor in the MBL's Physiology course and served for 18 years as an MBL Trustee. He is now a member of the MBL Board of Overseers. His ten books of essays range from The Woods Hole Cantata (1985) to Epigenetics in the Age of Twitter (in press, 2012).

Public parking is available in the MBL’s Bar Neck Road parking lot, 33 Bar Neck Road, across from the Woods Hole Yacht Club.


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 1888 in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, the MBL is an independent, nonprofit corporation.