With the launch of SENS Research Foundation's new website, the SENS Foundation Academic Initiative is now SRF Education. We hope that this new name will further clarify our mission and role within the larger Foundation. SRF Education's purpose continues to be centered on students and laypeople who are interested in learning more about SENS.
The SENS Foundation Academic Initiative has not exhausted the funding that it has allocated towards grants for the year 2012.
A literature review written by members of SRF Education has been published in Rejuvenation Research, and is now posted on PubMed.
The Academic Initiative's single largest project is the open online course that we are developing. We have determined the format that our videos in this course will take: they will display the image of a slide on-screen when that slide is most relevant. This way, every viewer will be able to see the right slides at the right time, instead of having to figure out precisely which slide the lecturer is discussing on their own.
In early March, the microglia project started when the Academic Inititiative awarded me a small grant to begin setting up functional assays for microglia. I've attached that grant and listed the background information section, without citations, below.
Microglia make up about 5-12% of total brain cells and act as the main immune cells of the CNS, but their function becomes increasingly impaired with age. In July two of the summer interns, Connie Wang and Jennie Sims, submitted a grant proposal that would continue to develop a project to assess exactly what changes occur in aging microglia.
The final lectures for the Academic Initiative's open online course were filmed yesterday, on-site at the SENS Foundation Research Center in Mountain View, CA. A very considerable amount of editing work remains to be done, but once that work is complete and the videos are prepared, we will post them on the Academic Initiative's website.
The Academic Initiative's interns presented posters detailing their summer projects yesterday at the SENS Foundation Research Center. We're all proud of the work our interns are doing, and are looking forward to seeing the final results of their projects as they continue their work here.
The Academic Initiative will be done filming the off-site lectures for its online coursework within a month. After that, the Initiative will shoot content at the SENSF Research Center, edit footage, prepare course materials, and prepare our website to accommodate the coursework. In all, we still anticipate that we'll be releasing the coursework by the end of 2012.
The Academic Initiative is likely to see another increased budget in 2013. We plan to offer at least as many scholarships and grants as we're offering this year, while we are nearly certain to expand our summer internship program, bringing in more interns overall and sending them to a greater number of labs. This year, some interns have been placed at the SENS Foundation Research Center, while others have gone to the Buck Institute for Research on Aging. We hope to place more interns at each location next year, and to add new locations.
SENS Foundation's researchers have reached their decisions, and all of the applicants to the SENS Foundation Academic Initiative's 2012 summer internship program have been informed of their status.
Over the last few months, the SENS Foundation Academic Initiative has witnessed a rapid increase in its membership numbers, and in the interest it receives from students across the United States and the world. In order to properly utilize and expand upon this interest, the Initiative will need new volunteers, new ideas, and new projects.