Vision and mission

The Aging Project of the DIMET (Department of Translational Medicine) of the University of Piemonte Orientale is a leading center for research and training on aging.
Based in Novara, the Project aims to achieve both territorial and global impact through collaboration with stakeholders and international research centers and through a consolidated alliance with citizens: together to face the challenge of longevity.

The challenge of aging and longevity

From 1950 to 2012, over-sixties people in the world quadrupled, growing from 205 to 810 million in 2012, with a forecast of growth of up to 1 billion by 2020 and a doubling by 2050. In higher-income countries, the growth of the elderly population is accompanied by an increase in chronic degenerative (non-communicable) diseases, which represent the largest part of the global burden of disease..

While the increase in longevity is an undoubted achievement, it can also become a threat to the immediate future, if health policy interventions on the care and well-being of the elderly, do not counterbalance it.
We believe that an exceptional demographic-epidemiological transition, such as the one we are experiencing, with a growing social and health impact, will require:

  • an exceptional research effort,
  • the development and testing of innovative intervention and prevention models,
  • a new alliance between professions.

The main scientific challenge is the need for an interdisciplinary approach, together with the challenge of education, because this transition will impact on the training needs of health professionals.

How we face the challenge

Through our research activities, we want to answer some fundamental questions about aging:

  1. Why do we age, and why do we age in poor health?
  2. Why do some diseases only manifest themselves in older people?
  3. Is it possible to reduce the burden of disease and disability during aging?
  4. How can we improve treatment and care pathways?

Through the training of all professions with relevant roles in the organization and management of healthcare, we want to promote the adoption of innovative solutions to adapt the structures and processes to the aging population.
We also want to train future researchers in interdisciplinary and innovative research on aging issues, including basic, clinical, organizational research, and public health research.

Through Public Engagement we aim to share knowledge and practices of healthy aging with the local community and citizens through communication activities, publications, and events.
With the “Novara Cohort Study”, we aim to investigate aging processes in the population of the Novara area, identifying healthy lifestyles and risk factors. Through the donation of biological samples to a biobank, all citizens can become not only beneficiaries but also protagonists of the scientific process and biomedical research on aging.

The four pillars of the project:

Interdisciplinarity

Translational Approach

Support for research and education

Public Engagement

While many other research centers focus on only one aspect of aging, on specific age-related mechanisms or pathologies, the Aging Project aims to address the topic of aging in its complexity, thanks to the synergistic contribution of a plurality of disciplines, in dialogue with each other.

The Aging Project aims to translate the results of interdisciplinary research on aging into clinical practice, but also into organizational practice, with the development of new models for taking care of the elderly, health promotion interventions, and Lifestyle Medicine.

We intend to face the challenge of aging and longevity with the primary tools of research and education activities. A Ph.D. program inFood, Health and Longevity, divided into two curricula for future researchers and new advanced training and refresher courses for health professionals.

Aware that our activity takes place in a specific context, we aim to interact effectively with the territory of Novara, through activities that go in two directions: spreading of knowledge acquired for the benefit of the community and direct involvement of the local community in research activities.Le origini dell’Aging Project

Interdisciplinarity

While many other research centers focus on only one aspect of aging, on specific age-related mechanisms or pathologies, the Aging Project aims to address the topic of aging in its complexity, thanks to the synergistic contribution of a plurality of disciplines, in dialogue with each other.

Translational Approach

The Aging Project aims to translate the results of interdisciplinary research on aging into clinical practice, but also into organizational practice, with the development of new models for taking care of the elderly, health promotion interventions, and Lifestyle Medicine.

Support for research and education

We intend to face the challenge of aging and longevity with the primary tools of research and education activities. A Ph.D. program inFood, Health and Longevity, divided into two curricula for future researchers and new advanced training and refresher courses for health professionals.

Public Engagement

Aware that our activity takes place in a specific context, we aim to interact effectively with the territory of Novara, through activities that go in two directions: spreading of knowledge acquired for the benefit of the community and direct involvement of the local community in research activities.Le origini dell’Aging Project

Our history

In 2015 theHealthy Aging Groupwas founded within the UPO, a group of researchers and university professors that, together withIRES Piemonte, collaborates in the design and management of the University’s scientific activity on aging. The group includes representatives from different disciplinary areas: anthropology/ethnology, biology, biochemistry, economics, endocrinology, epidemiology, physiology, physiotherapy, geriatrics, hygiene, nursing, internal medicine, nutrition, psychiatry, sociology, and medical statistics.

L’Healthy Aging Group is characterized by a collaborative and participatory approach, open to the community through networking with local stakeholders and active participation in events in the Novara area.

The path undertaken by the Healthy Aging Group culminated in 2018 with the positive evaluation of the MIUR, which recognized as Departments of Excellence the two structures of the School of Medicine: the Department of Translational Medicine (DIMET) and the Department of Health Sciences (DSS), which presented, respectively, the Aging and FOHN (Food for Health: an integrated Approach) projects.
The appointment to Departments of Excellence involves five-year funding that allows the Aging Project to strengthen research and training activities and collaboration with other UPO departments and international collaborations.

The first example is the collaboration between DIMET and DSS that have started shared projects on the topic of healthy aging and nutrition, such as the International and Interdisciplinary Ph.D. program in “Food, Health and Longevity.

Facilities

The Aging Project is supported by the University’s facilities:

  • Fund Raising Support Unit
  • Research Support Unit
  • The Center for Translational Research on Autoimmune and Allergic Diseases (CAAD)
  • Interdepartmental Centre for Innovative Didactics and Simulation in Medicine and Health Professions (SIMNOVA)
  • The Biobank (Biobanca)