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Vol. LXIV, No. 5
March 2, 2012

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STEP Forum on Sleep, Mar. 13

The staff training in extramural programs (STEP) committee will present a Science for All forum on the topic “I’m not aSLEEP…But That Doesn’t Mean I’m Awake,” on Tuesday, Mar. 13, from 9 a.m. to noon in Rockledge II, Rms. 9112-9116.

How much sleep do you really need? We all know people who seem to need only 4 or 5 hours of sleep, but are they functioning at an optimal level? Sleep affects every aspect of your life—mood, emotions, memory, physiology and public safety. Join us to learn about the latest scientific findings on sleep, sleep impairment, long-term effects of sleep deprivation and treatment strategies.

Goodbye Bottled Water, Hello Fountains

The Office of Research Facilities has begun removing bottled water dispensers from certain locations on campus. The affected dispensers are near water fountains that were previously out of service, but have since been repaired or replaced. The bottled water dispensers will remain in buildings or locations where the water supply has been determined to be unhealthy or not available. If you have questions or concerns, contact the facility manager for your building.

Circus Premiere Night Benefits Charities

The 15th annual Children’s Premiere Night with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will once again benefit the NIH children’s charities. The 141st edition of “The Greatest Show on Earth” comes to Verizon Center on Wednesday, Mar. 14, hosted by the NIH R&W. A free pre-show starts at 6 p.m. and the circus starts at 7. Tickets include Circus Celebrity—front row/interactive seating where you become part of the show $80 (reg. $110); front row $55 (reg. $75); VIP $40 (reg. $55); section 111 & 112 (best seats) $24 (reg. $35). Purchase your ticket at the R&W activities desk in Bldg. 31, Rm. B1W30 or call (301) 496-4600. Orders can be placed for tickets at any R&W store.

Orioles and Nationals Baseball Ticket Sales

The R&W will once again offer tickets to the Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals. Orioles tickets go on sale Tuesday, Mar. 6 in Bldg. 31, Rm. B1W30 (outside the R&W gift shop) at 8 a.m. Available are two regular season tickets (2 seats behind first base—section 14BBB seats 7-8). Nationals tickets go on sale on Thursday, Mar. 8 outside the Bldg. 31 R&W gift shop, also at 8 a.m. R&W has 2 seats in section 219, row D. You must be a 2012 R&W member to buy tickets. Membership is $7 for the year and can be purchased at the same time you get tickets.

Campus Bluebird Houses Seek Monitors

Volunteers are needed to help monitor bluebird houses on campus. “Monitoring will begin about Apr. 1 and end about Aug. 10,” said Lynn Mueller, landscape architect, Office of Research Facilities. “We have eight trails surrounding the campus with 10 to 12 houses each.”

Volunteers would take a weekly lunch-time walk along the trail looking for bluebirds, inspecting boxes, counting eggs and babies and noting when and how many babies mature and fly away. A second nesting begins in late June. Each trail will have a team of 3 to 4 volunteers so individuals will not have to make every weekly tour.

“The campus bluebird population is making a nice comeback from the recent West Nile virus outbreak, with 36 bluebirds that fledged in 2011,” Mueller noted. “Many other songbird species use the nest boxes as well.”

If you are interested in helping monitor bluebirds this season, contact Mueller at or (301) 594-7699.

New Geroscience Interest Group Meets, Mar. 8

“Aging underlies everything. If we can understand what’s happening in the aging cell, we will have a key to treating a host of chronic diseases that come with growing older.” So says Dr. Felipe Sierra, director of NIA’s Division of Aging Biology and a moving force behind the new trans-NIH geroscience interest group (GSIG). The goal of the group is to stimulate interest and involvement in the basic science of aging across ICs at NIH; it has been launched with the blessing of a number of IC directors.

The group’s first NIH-wide effort is a seminar series on aging and disease topics. The first speaker will be Dr. James L. Kirkland, director of the Robert and Arlene Kogod Center on Aging at the Mayo Clinic, who will discuss cell senescence and other aging topics on Thursday, Mar. 8. The seminar, “Targeting Aging to Delay Multiple Chronic Diseases: A New Frontier,” will take place in Masur Auditorium at 11:30 a.m. Kirkland will expand on his recent article in Nature, which described a causal relationship between senescent cells and certain age-related diseases in a mouse model. Two additional seminars are planned for later this year, as well as a workshop on the topic of inflammation and age-related diseases. The GSIG also sponsors a journal club that meets monthly.

“Aging is the major risk factor for most chronic diseases,” says Sierra. “The good news is that it’s a malleable factor. By decelerating aging we should be able to change or reduce the risk for many diseases in unison. But we need to understand the basic molecular, cellular and genetic mechanisms involved and how they change as we age.” For more information about GSIG, contact Sierra at

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