Speaker: Dr. Belinda Needham
Title: Social status and telomere length across the life course
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Despite growing recognition of social factors as fundamental causes of disease, relatively little is known abut the underlying biological mechanisms. Telomeres are the protective caps at the ends of eukaryotic chromosomes. Telomeres get shorter each time a cell divides, and critically shortened telomeres trigger cellular senescence. Thus, telomere length is hypothesized to be a biological marker of aging. In this talk, Dr. Needham will provide an overview of the telomere hypothesis of aging; present the results of two recent studies on socioeconomic status and telomere length; and discuss directions for future research in the field of telomere epidemiology.