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Effros Takes Office as The Gerontological Society of America’s President

For Immediate Release
November 20, 2014

Contact: Todd Kluss
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(202) 587-2839

Rita B. Effros, PhD, of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) has been installed as the new president of The Gerontological Society of America (GSA), the nation’s largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to the field of aging. She was elected by GSA’s membership, which consists of over 5,500 researchers, educators, practitioners, and other professionals.

Effros assumed this year-long position at GSA’s recent Annual Scientific Meeting in Washington, DC. She is the 71st person to hold the office since the Society was founded in 1945. As president, she will oversee matters of governance and strategic planning while managing the program for GSA’s 2015 Annual Scientific Meeting. She has chosen “Aging as a Lifelong Process” as the theme for this conference, which will take place in Orlando from November 18 to 22.

“GSA is truly a unique organization in its inclusion of multiple research disciplines that are united by the shared goal of enhancing the quality of life of people as they age,” Effros said. “It is indeed an honor and a privilege to help foster new collaborations, to provide mentorship for the next generation of researchers, and to increase awareness of the general public and our elected officials regarding the multiple facets of aging.”

At UCLA, Effros is a professor of pathology & laboratory medicine within the David Geffen School of Medicine. She is a member of the Molecular Biology Institute and the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, and serves as the co-director of the Aging & HIV Program Area of the UCLA AIDS Institute. Her research focuses on immune system changes associated with human aging and their impact on infections and cancer.

She was one of the first investigators to document similarities between age-related immune alterations and those associated with HIV/AIDS, an area that is becoming increasingly important with the prolonged survival of HIV-infected persons. In addition to mentoring graduate students, Effros has been a major force in UCLA undergraduate education in gerontology, where she helped establish and still teaches a freshman year-long interdisciplinary course, The Longevity Revolution: Biomedical, Social and Policy Perspectives.

“Rita is a distinguished scholar in the biological sciences who is committed to fostering interdisciplinary collaboration, which is a central goal of GSA’s mission,” said GSA Executive Director and CEO James Appleby, RPh, MPH. “We look forward to working with her in the year ahead to advance innovation in aging.”

Effros has written over 130 research articles, reviews, and book chapters, and was recently guest editor of a special issue on aging and cancer for Critical Reviews in Oncogenesis. She has served on the editorial board of Experimental Gerontology, Mechanisms of Aging & Development, Current HIV Research, and Aging: Clinical & Experimental Research.

She received her PhD in immunology, focusing on influenza immunity, from the University of Pennsylvania, under the mentorship of Peter Doherty, 1996 Nobel laureate. Effros is fellow of GSA, and earned the organization’s Robert W. Kleemeier Award in 2007. At UCLA, she was the recipient of the 2002 Woman of Science Award, and held the Plott Endowed Chair in Gerontology from 2001 to 2006.

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The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) is the nation's oldest and largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to research, education, and practice in the field of aging. The principal mission of the Society — and its 5,500+ members — is to advance the study of aging and disseminate information among scientists, decision makers, and the general public. GSA’s structure also includes a policy institute, the National Academy on an Aging Society, and an educational branch, the Academy for Gerontology in Higher Education.

 

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