Sci. Aging Knowl. Environ., 23 February 2005
Vol. 2005, Issue 8, p. pe6
[DOI: 10.1126/sageke.2005.8.pe6]


A New Biogerontology Lab in Newcastle

Douglas A. Gray

The author is at the Ottawa Health Research Institute, 501 Smyth Road, Ottawa K1H 8L6, Canada. E-mail: dgray{at}

Key Words: biogerontology • gerontology • aging

At the close of the 4th European Congress of Biogerontology, Thomas Kirkwood (Fig. 1), its organizer, invited participants to attend the official opening of the Henry Wellcome Laboratory for Biogerontology Research, which occupies a new building on the campus of the Newcastle General Hospital on Westgate Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, in the United Kingdom. Kirkwood directs the new laboratory within the Institute for Ageing and Health (IAH), a thriving cross-disciplinary institute with interests ranging from the theoretical and molecular aspects of aging to depression, aging-related falls, stroke, and dementia. The IAH is codirected by Kirkwood and Jim Edwardson, and together they have gathered considerable local expertise and community support. With the opening of its elegant, well-equipped laboratory, the IAH now has a centerpiece for the basic science side of its operations, and the growth of biogerontology research in Newcastle continues apace. Work will soon begin on a neighboring building that will house functional magnetic resonance imaging research (see Gazzaley Perspective), and additional research buildings for the site are in the planning phase.

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Fig. 1. Thomas Kirkwood (left) enjoys Leonard Hayflick's remarks at the opening of the Henry Wellcome Laboratory for Biogerontology Research.

Leonard Hayflick was guest of honor at the Henry Wellcome Laboratory's ribbon-cutting ceremony. "It is customary in the U.K. to have members of the royal family perform such duties," Kirkwood explained "but for our Laboratory I wanted an accomplished scientist whose presence would have significance for the attendees, and there is no-one better qualified than Len Hayflick." After the ceremony, Hayflick spoke on the "Coming of Age of Biogerontology" at a special symposium marking the occasion, with closing remarks provided by Lord Sutherland, chair of the House of Lords Inquiry into Scientific Aspects of Ageing. It is clear that the British have an interest in the biology of aging that extends from local seniors groups to the highest levels of government. Perhaps this explains the sense of mission that is evident at the newly commissioned Henry Wellcome Laboratory for Biogerontology Research. If that is not enough, there is a graveyard across the street that may provide some perspective.

February 23, 2005 Citation: D. A. Gray, A New Biogerontology Lab in Newcastle. Sci. Aging Knowl. Environ. 2005 (8), pe6 (2005).

Science of Aging Knowledge Environment. ISSN 1539-6150