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2016 GIA Awards for Excellence

Robert G. Fenley Writing: Basic Science Staff Writing

"The Time of Your Life"
By Krista Conger
Stanford Medicine
Stanford School of Medicine

What was the subject of this piece?
An examination of why aging happens and whether it's possible to slow or even stop it.

Judges said:
I really enjoyed this piece. It flows very well with conversational interjections that engage the reader. I was genuinely curious to learn more about the research and had several "wow" moments throughout.

Where did it appear?
It was published in the spring 2015 issue of Stanford Medicine magazine.

What was the biggest challenge in writing about this topic?
Exploring the true promise and potential of aging research on human health while avoiding hype or overselling the findings. It’s not always about longevity; in many cases, living well can be better than living long.

An excerpt:
Humans have grappled with mortality for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Ancient humans propounded myriad ways to live longer, from a subsistence-only diet to bathing in or drinking magical water (the Fountain of Youth, anyone?) to alchemy or transfusions with the blood of children. Longevity has been sometimes associated with devout spirituality, or with capacious sexual appetites. Geographic location and climate were viewed as critical; both mild and stringent weather were at times considered beneficial. In short, if you can think of it, humans have likely tried it.

We can chuckle at some of these suggestions. Others, however, are somewhat unnervingly close to promising paths of current research. Calorie restriction has been shown to increase the lives of mice and other lab animals, and Rando, together with neuroscientist Tony Wyss-Coray, PhD, are among several researchers who have shown that the blood of young mice contains factors that help the muscles and brains of aging mice perform better.

“It’s clear that, as we age, our cells and tissues change,” says Rando. “The fundamental question is ‘To what extent are these changes reversible?’ This research shows that it’s possible to drive cells from an old state to a young state with factors that circulate in the blood.”


Honorable Mention — Basic Science Staff Writing

"Internal Dialogues"
By Stephanie Dutchen
Harvard Medicine Magazine
Harvard Medical School

"The Genesis of Cancer Mutations"
By Elizabeth Kumru
UNMC Discover Magazine
University of Nebraska Medical Center

Interested in Submitting Your Work?

You’ve spent the entire year creating innovative campaigns, writing articles, organizing alumni and community events, revamping your digital presence, and most importantly, demonstrating the value of your institution to your community.  Now is the time to show off your work and be recognized!

Learn more about the competition with the resources below: