Sonoma County Office of Education’s ieSonoma 2018 to Feature Harvard’s Todd Rose Along With Inspiring Group of Local Sonoma County Youth

Todd Rose will be the keynote speaker at ieSonoma 2018 on Friday, June 8 at Sonoma Country Day School in Santa Rosa. Dr. Rose is the Director of the Mind, Brain, and Education program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where he leads the Laboratory for the Science of the Individual. He is also the co-founder of The Center for Individual Opportunity, a non-profit organization that promotes the principles of individuality in work, school, and society. A strong advocate of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) to accommodate individual learning differences, his talks have been featured at SXSWedu, TedX, Google, the Aspen Ideas Festival, and Apple.

ieSonoma 2018 is the sixth annual collaboration between the Sonoma County Office of Education, Sonoma State University, and Sonoma Country Day School and is meant to foster innovation in Sonoma County schools. In past years, the event has entertained and energized local educators and community members with world-renowned speakers like Sir Ken Robinson, Benjamin Zander, Dr. Ainissa Ramirez, Dr. Sugata Mitra, Dan Pallotta, Emily Pilloton, and filmmaker Nirvan Mullick.

In addition to Rose’s presentation, ieSonoma will feature local young innovators, who will share their inspirational stories in a series of short talks. Their stories are meant to inspire educators to create more opportunities for students to pursue their own unique interests.


ieSonoma: innovate | educate is a partnership between the Sonoma County Office of Education, Sonoma Country Day School, and Sonoma State University. ieSonoma events are intended to provoke attendees thinking and challenge previously held beliefs about teaching and learning in the 21st century. It is our hope that these events spark important community conversations, foster radical collaboration, and encourage deeper learning by all who attend.


Todd Rose is the Director of the Mind, Brain, and Education program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where he leads the Laboratory for the Science of Individuality, as well as Associate Faculty at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. He is also the co-founder of The Center for Individual Opportunity, a non-profit organization that promotes the principles of individuality in work, school, and society. Todd is the author of The End of Average.

Todd Rose was born and raised in northern Utah. After dropping out of high school, he obtained his GED and started attending night classes at a local college. He eventually received his Doctorate in Human Development from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. His talks have been featured at SXSWedu, TedX, Google, the Aspen Ideas Festival, and Apple.


Rose and the young innovators will deliver their presentations on June 8 beginning at 8:45am in the Jackson Theater at Sonoma Country Day School. The young innovators will speak first, and Rose will take the stage following an intermission—around 10:15am.

Register Here

BPM’s Michelle Ausburn Recognized by CalCPA Education Foundation as Woman to Watch

Michelle is a partner in assurance and craft beverage industry group leader at BPM. Her area of expertise is GAAP compliant financial accounting and reporting. She serves middle-market, privately-held, family owner-managed, and institutionally owned businesses and publicly held companies. She has experience working with companies in the start-up phase through ownership transition, including IPO. She spends the majority of her time working with wineries, vineyards, real estate entities, négociants, custom crush facilities, wine and spirits distribution companies, natural and organic food companies, and non-wine agriculture. As a result, she has extensive knowledge of the more common and complex accounting issues those types of businesses face. In addition to providing traditional audit and review services, she offers guidance in the areas of business combinations, consolidations, lease accounting, inventory valuation, revenue recognition, and evaluation of internal control. Michelle also oversees employee benefit plan audits.

She is active in the firm’s recruiting efforts at SSU and leads the firm’s WIN! Initiative—a program dedicated to creating opportunities that improve women leadership participation from its current level to a level that is more reflective of women in the workforce.

  • Graduated from Saint Mary’s College with a bachelor’s in Economics and Business Administration
  • Served as the Treasurer for the Napa/Sonoma Chapter for Women for WineSense and Treasurer and Finance Committee Chair for the Healdsburg School
  • Since 2009, she has served on the planning committee for CalCPA Wine Industry Conference
  • Member of AICPA, CalCPA, North Bay Leadership Council, Russian River Valley Winegrowers and Volunteer Center of Sonoma County
  • Presented on GAAP accounting and reporting in the wine industry
  • Participated as a speaker at the Wine Industry Technology Symposium and through Sonoma State University’s Wine Business Program
  • Active in BPM’s WIN! Initiative

For more information about the conference visit

Arrow Benefits Group gives $153K for North Bay heart-attack devices, other efforts

The principals and employees of Arrow Benefits Group have a long history of contributing time and money to many cherished community organizations. Many of these initiatives involve leading by example.

The firm is now the lead sponsor for United Cerebral Palsy’s annual fundraising campaign and supports this and other nonprofits through its voluntary time-off policy, initiated last year, which also includes matching employee contributions one for one.

Collectively in 2017, the company gave financial contributions totaling more than $50,000, along with an additional $3,000 through the matching gift program.

Through the Arrow Wellness Initiative, the company donated $100,000 in automated external defibrillator (AED) machines that were distributed within the business community. Riverfront Fitness was the first of many to receive an AED.

Principal Andrew McNeil won the Golden Heart Award from the Petaluma Healthcare District for his work with them, as well as for creating the Arrow Wellness Initiative that includes ongoing CPR/First Aid classes and other wellness training workshops offered every month.

Owner Jordan Shields won the first North Bay Children’s Center’s Leadership Award recognizing him as “an outstanding volunteer leader who brings support and a deep commitment that helps drive forward the NBCC mission.”

Principal Mariah Shields is co-founder and chair of “100 Sonoma People Who Care” that selects local charities and people in need and then gathers local business support to assist them.

She has been a volunteer for more than a decade with the Giant Steps Therapeutic Riding Center helping children every Saturday overcome personal issues by riding horses and by working closely with them.

Stephen McNeil, principal, is personally involved as a mentor, and Arrow has sponsored multiple teams at Mentor Me.

In addition, team member Leslie Robbins works with, and donates time, to the Humane Society. The firm has joined the North Bay Leadership Council and company representatives are also on the advisory board of Big Brothers/Big Sisters.

To elevate and support the community, Arrow launched Culture Insights, an internal program designed to address ways to build a better workforce.

Midstate Construction – Sun House Senior Apartments

Midstate Construction Corporation recently completed construction of Sun House Senior Apartments, a new senior residential facility in Ukiah, CA for owner PEP Housing.

Designed by Robert Hayes + Associates, this project includes new construction of 42 living units, including 10 set aside for senior Veterans and associated common areas. The 65,000 square foot site is arranged in 3 two story buildings and 1 one story community center building.

Redwood Credit Union Celebrates Its 100th Teen Financial Fair in the North Bay

Redwood Credit Union (RCU) held its 100th free “Bite of Reality” financial workshop for teens on Wednesday, March 7th at San Rafael High School. In an interactive simulation of the money management challenges facing adults, 118 students learned about managing income versus expenses, and paying for housing, child care, and more. The event marked RCU’s 100th “Bite of Reality” fair in the North Bay.

RCU’s first Bite of Reality event was held at San Rafael HS in April of 2013. Since then, RCU has partnered with 24 North Bay schools and 11 youth organizations to offer the program. More than 7,700 teens have participated in RCU’s Bite of Reality events to date.

“Managing money is a life skill that adults have to practice daily, yet it’s not part of the state-required high school curriculum,” said Matt Martin, RCU’s senior vice president of community and government relations. “We provide the Bite of Reality program to help bridge that gap by giving students a taste of the financial realities adults face every day.”

In Bite of Reality, each student gets a fictional identity, including occupation, salary, family, credit cards, and a checking account. They then visit stations, such as the “Groceries and Dining” table where they pay for food. There are also housing and transportation stations, clothing and entertainment, child care, and more. As they move through the process, the teens must decide on the expenditures they can afford with their very finite budget. It’s eye opening to learn they can’t always cover both necessities and desires.

“Bite of Reality is one of my favorite community events,” said Wrynn Valentine, RCU’s financial wellness advocate. “Students get an interactive experience that’s entertaining, enlightening, and often surprising. Imagine being a 16-year-old boy having to budget for diapers. It offers a glimpse into the kind of financial decisions they’ll have to make as adults—something they can ponder as they move into the working phase of their lives. RCU loves helping prepare teens for a successful financial future.”

One of the coordinating teachers reported the students had recently undergone a budgeting lesson as part of the classroom curriculum and that Bite of Reality was a particularly fun way to wrap that up and put what they had learned to the test.

Nineteen volunteers, in all, helped make this Bite of Reality happen—13 San Rafael High School volunteers (parents, past volunteers, and community), four Redwood Credit Union employees, and two RCU community volunteers.

For more information or to schedule a Bite of Reality at your school or youth organization, contact RCU at (707) 576-5259 or

About Redwood Credit Union

Founded in 1950, Redwood Credit Union is a full-service financial institution providing personal and business banking to consumers and businesses in the North Bay and San Francisco. RCU offers complete financial services, including checking and savings accounts, auto and home loans, credit cards, online and mobile banking, business services, commercial and SBA lending, investment and financial planning services, and more. The Credit Union also offers insurance and discount auto sales through their wholly-owned subsidiary. RCU currently has over $4 billion in assets and serves over 300,000 Members with full-service branches from San Francisco to Ukiah, more than 30,000 fee-free network ATMs nationwide and convenient, free online and mobile banking. They can be followed on Facebook at and on Twitter at @Redwoodcu. For more information, please call 1 (800) 479-7928 or visit

Sonoma Raceway Hosts Make the Future California While They Put Fuel-Efficiency Records to the Test

Shell, in conjunction with Sonoma Raceway and Speedway Motorsports Inc., will welcome student teams from up to 100 high schools and universities across North and South America to Make the Future California featuring Shell Eco-marathon Americas, April 19-22, 2018.

Make the Future California provides a platform for innovation, collaboration and conversation around the world’s energy challenges, as part of a global series of events through 2018. At the heart of these events is Shell Eco-marathon – one of the world’s leading energy efficiency competitions for students – that, for the past 30 years, has been challenging future engineers and scientists to go the farthest with the least amount of energy.

For the past 11 years, students competing in the Shell Eco-marathon Americas have designed, built and tested ultra-energy-efficient vehicles, with some achieving more than 3,500 miles per gallon. 2018 marks the 12th edition of Shell Eco-marathon in the Americas and the return to California where the first Shell Eco-marathon Americas student challenge took place in 2007 with less than 20 teams competing on the inside track of the California Speedway in Fontana.

“We are excited to return to California, a hub for technology and innovation, as we bring together students, energy entrepreneurs and global and local partners to demonstrate collaboration and ignite conversations about how to meet the growing energy demand while reducing future CO₂ emissions,” said Bruce Culpepper, U.S. Country Chair and President, Shell Oil Company. “These ambitious students from all over the Americas have been preparing for the ultimate energy-efficiency challenge, and their bright ideas and innovations on the track show us all what could be possible for the energy solutions of the future.”

“The Shell Eco-marathon program helps to prepare the next generation of scientists and engineers for tomorrow’s energy challenges,” said Shanna Simmons, Shell Eco-marathon Global Technical Director. “This competition provides students an opportunity to create a real impact in the world today by encouraging innovation and real solutions to address the global energy challenge.”

More than 1,000 student participants from across the Americas have worked for months to plan and construct their ultra-energy-efficient vehicles. By maximizing elements such as streamlined design, lightweight materials and driving strategy, teams aim to set new fuel efficiency records in two Shell Eco-marathon competitions at the iconic Sonoma Raceway in April:

  • Shell Eco-marathon Mileage Challenge: students compete to see whose vehicle design can go the farthest on the least amount of fuel.
  • Shell Eco-marathon Drivers’ World Championship Regional Final: energy efficiency and speed unite in a race to crown the regional champion and secure a place in the Drivers’ World Championship Grand Final, which will be held in London, 2018.

Student teams can choose to participate in one of two vehicle categories:

  • The Prototype – challenges teams to enter futuristic, streamlined vehicles designed purely to reduce friction and maximize efficiency.
  • The UrbanConcept – focuses on more “roadworthy” energy-efficient vehicles.

For both vehicle categories in the Shell Eco-marathon Americas event, teams can choose to compete with one of three drivetrains based on five official energy sources:

  • Internal combustion: gasoline, diesel, and ethanol
  • Hydrogen fuel cell
  • Battery electric technologies

Teams from Across the Americas Take on the Challenge Year-After-Year
Participating teams in 2018 include the Université Laval from Quebec, Canada, which last year recorded 2,731.1 miles per gallon with its ultra-energy-efficient gasoline powered prototype vehicle for first place in their energy and vehicle category. Last year’s runners-up, Brigham Young University and Mater Dei High School from Evansville, Indiana, will also be heading to Sonoma Raceway in April.

This year’s UrbanConcept competitors will include Mater Dei Supermileage Team, returning for their 12th year in the competition, who recorded top energy efficiency stats with 723.4 miles per gallon in its gasoline powered vehicle last year. Minnesota’s Saint Thomas Academy, Alden-Conger High School, and New York’s Newburgh Free Academy, last years’ podium placers, will also compete again this year.

Notably, Louisiana Tech University, which won the Vehicle Design Award in 2017 with its custom-designed UrbanConcept car, is aiming to take the top honors at Sonoma Raceway. This year, the team has partnered with Louisiana Tech’s School of Design to enhance branding and promotion for the team and represent the new era of the program.

Events Surrounding Make the Future California Add Value
In 2018, Shell will help shape the future of sustainable mobility in the Bay Area by uniting the industries and individuals that will help drive a cleaner, brighter future. Shell events related to Make the Future California in April will foster dialogue about future energy challenges and near-term solutions, including:

  • Powering Progress Together, April 19: This year in San Francisco, Shell will convene leading thinkers at this action-focused event aimed to foster conversation about the future of energy. The event will invite fresh thinking, and encourage collaboration, dialogue and debate.
  • Synergy Food Truck: The unique Synergy Truck was developed by Shell Eco-marathon student participants who collaborated to re-imagine every aspect of the food truck experience using new energy technologies. The food truck will also be onsite during the Shell Eco-marathon events at Sonoma Raceway.
  • Shell B2B Showcase: Various businesses within Shell will be featured on site, such as Shell’s New Energies group based in San Francisco, showcasing hydrogen and electric automotive mobility; Shell Lubricants and its hyper-fuel-efficient Class 8 tractor-trailer, Starship; and the nearby Shell Martinez Refinery.

For more information on Shell Eco-marathon Americas, including additional details on vehicle class requirements, official rules and details on prizes, please visit the Shell Eco-marathon website at:


About Make the Future Festivals
Make the Future Festivals is Shell’s global platform for conversation, collaboration and innovation around the world’s energy challenges. With events hosted in countries around the globe, they aim to provide an opportunity for multiple stakeholders: including students, entrepreneurs, businesses, governments and the public, to experience, test and contribute bright energy ideas.

About Shell Eco-marathon
Shell Eco-marathon is a global program built to offer students hands-on opportunities to develop ideas and technology, knowledge and skills, within an arena of competition.

Currently held in Asia, the Americas and Europe and made up of two key competitions: Shell Eco-marathon Mileage Challenge, and Drivers’ World Championship, students from countries across their respective regions use innovative problem-solving skills to design and build their own cars. Looking at every aspect of design and technology, students compete to prove that their bright ideas will produce the most energy-efficient vehicle when tested on the track.

Shell Eco-marathon began in 1939 at a Shell research laboratory in the United States as a friendly wager between scientists to see who could get the most miles per gallon from their vehicle. In 1985 in France, Shell Eco-marathon as we know it today was born. In April 2007, the Shell Eco-marathon Americas event was launched in the United States, and in 2010, the inaugural Shell Eco-marathon Asia was held in Malaysia, up until 2013. In 2018 Shell Eco-marathon Mileage Challenge and Drivers’ World Championship competitions will be held in Singapore, California and London, with London hosting the Drivers’ World Championship Grand Final.

About Shell Oil Company
Shell Oil Company is an affiliate of the Royal Dutch Shell plc, a global group of energy and petrochemical companies with operations in more than 70 countries. In the U.S., Shell operates in 50 states and employs more than 20,000 people working to help tackle the challenges of the new energy future. Shell Oil Company is a leading oil and gas producer in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, a recognized pioneer in oil and gas exploration and production technology and one of America’s leading oil and natural gas producers, gasoline and natural gas marketers and petrochemical manufacturers.

About Sonoma Raceway
Sonoma Raceway, located in the Sonoma Valley, is Northern California’s premier motor-sports destination, featuring a world-class road course, drag strip and karting center.  Its annual race schedule is headlined by the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series and Verizon IndyCar® Series. In addition, Sonoma Raceway boasts a motor-sports industrial park, which serves as home to more than 70 businesses, including the Simraceway Performance Driving Center. Sonoma Raceway is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Speedway Motorsports, Inc., a leading marketer and promoter of motor-sports entertainment in the United States.

Exchange Bank, Large Business of the Year

Exchange Bank’s relationship with our local Chamber dates back to 1906. Following the great quake, Frank Doyle, president and co-founder of Exchange Bank, joined with other business and civic leaders to form the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce and help Santa Rosa rise from the ashes. The City Council challenged the new Chamber with the slogan, “Build a bigger and better Santa Rosa.” That special relationship continues today as the Bank works with the Chamber and its membership to create a new vision for downtown, find solutions to our workforce and transportation challenges, and once again, help our communities rise from the ashes.

In response to the October wildfires the Bank increased charitable giving, employees volunteered in the community, and the Bank was able to open ten of our eighteen Sonoma County Offices immediately after the fires to provide essential banking services and support to both our customers, non-customers, and our communities.

Since 1890, Exchange Bank has been serving the local community, not only through trusted banking and financial services, but also through its charitable giving. Exchange Bank differs from national and regional banks by investing 100% of its charitable giving in the communities it serves in Sonoma County and Roseville (Placer County). In addition, 50.44% of the Bank’s cash dividends go to the Doyle Trust which funds the Doyle Scholarship at Santa Rosa Junior College. Since 1948, the Doyle Scholarship Fund has provided $83 million to over 127,000 students.

Exchange Bank’s mission statement is “From generation to generation, we invest in people, business and community to build a strong future.”

Exchange Bank is proud to be a Premier Member of the Santa Rosa Metro Chamber.

Join us in honoring Exchange Bank – get your tickets for the 2018 Annual Gala

Star Staffing 20th Anniversary Talent & Recruiting Conference

Star Staffing is celebrating 20 years in business! As part of the celebration, Star Staffing will host a half-day Talent and Recruiting Conference on March 28 from 8:00am – 1:00pm.  This conference will be held at Sonoma State University, Ballroom B.

The half-day conference will include big names from Salesforce, Ameritech Financial, KeenHire, Communication Catalysts, Inc. and the local HR community. HR professionals and business owners are invited to attend. Topics include how to attract the best candidates, perfect the candidate experience, and leverage recruiting techniques for the digital age.

Proceeds will go toward two scholarships for HR students at Sonoma State University. Early bird pricing is $50, regular pricing is $75. There are also ten student seats available at no cost for those interested in the HR profession (must register and show student ID).

Registration available on Eventbrite,

Media Contact:

Ciera Pratt, Marketing Manager


About Star Staffing:

Founded in 1998, Star Staffing is Northern California’s premier staffing provider, holding offices in Petaluma, Santa Rosa, Napa, Fairfield, Sacramento, Lodi and in the school of business at Sonoma State University. Honored as a North Bay Best Place to Work and Fastest Growing Company by Inc. 5000, Star Staffing offers recruiting and screening, payroll and time attendance management, risk reduction programs, employee rewards and benefits, and superior service to a multitude of companies, including manufacturing, industrial, clerical, administrative, accounting, finance, and professional.

Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa Medical Center Get New Physician Leadership

Michael J. Shulman, MD, a Santa Rosa urologist, was named the new physician-in-chief of the Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa Medical Center, helping guide the medical operation of the hospital and oversee physicians and medical staff.

Dr. Shulman, a Santa Rosa resident, joined the Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa Medical Center in 2006. He served as Santa Rosa’s Chief of Urology for over nine years (including two years as assistant chief), and he replaces Kirk Pappas, MD, who served as physician-in-chief from 2011-2017.

“Our work is now compounded by the devastation of the fires,” says Dr. Shulman, who became physician-in-chief just eight days before the fire storm. “Nevertheless, I hold vast optimism for our future as I witness tremendous dedication and caring by our medical physicians and staff toward the work of healing and building a better medical center. For me, it is truly an overwhelming honor and privilege to serve as physician-in-chief for Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa Medical Center.”

Dr. Shulman was born and raised in central coastal California. He graduated from Occidental College, Magna Cum Laude, with a degree in Chemistry. He received his Masters degree in Chemistry from Harvard University and from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland. He then moved to Honolulu, Hawaii where he taught high school chemistry at Iolani and Punahou Schools. He also worked as an environmental consultant for both private industry and the Hawaii State Department of Health.

To pursue his interest in medicine and service to patients, Dr. Shulman received his Medical Degree from the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor, where he graduated Cum Laude with election to Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA). He then completed an Internship in General Surgery and Residency in Urology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, in Dallas, Texas.

“We’re pleased to welcome Dr. Shulman to the leadership team at the Santa Rosa Medical Center,” said Judy Coffey, RN, Sr. Vice President and Area Manager, Marin-Sonoma. “and we look forward to working together—physicians,  nurses, and staff—providing high quality care and service to our members.”


About Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 11.7 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to:

The Buck Institute for Research on Aging Explores a New Therapeutic Avenue for Parkinson’s Disease

Systemic clearing of senescent astrocytes prevents Parkinson’s neuropathology and associated symptoms in a mouse model of sporadic disease, the type implicated in 95% of human cases. Publishing in Cell Reports, researchers in the Andersen lab at the Buck Institute provide a new potential therapeutic avenue for the incurable, progressive neurological disorder that affects up to one million Americans, robbing them of the ability to control movement.

Senescent cells, which stop dividing in response to stress, secrete deleterious factors that cause tissue damage and lead to chronic inflammation. In this study, senescence was triggered by exposure to the pesticide paraquat, a neurotoxin formally linked to the development of Parkinson’s disease in farmworkers in 2011.

“While senescence has been implicated in Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative disease, we believe this is the first time that clearing the inflammatory cells prevented symptoms from developing in a live mammal,” said Julie K. Andersen, PhD, Buck professor and senior author on the paper. “We hope that the fact that we were able to do this in a sporadic, rather than genetic, model of Parkinson’s, highlights its relevance as a potential new way to tackle the most prevalent form of the disease.”

This research is unusual given that it focuses on senescence in astrocytes, so called “helper” cells that perform a variety of tasks, from axon guidance and synaptic support to control of the blood brain barrier and blood flow. Even though astrocytes are the most numerous cell type within the central nervous system, Andersen says they have been underappreciated “stepchildren” in most basic neuroscience research. She says the vast majority of Parkinson’s research has focused on toxicity that directly affects specific neurons implicated in the disease, “but no one has come up with an effective treatment based on that approach. This research suggests that senescent astrocytes may contribute to the development of the disease and we’re excited to explore this avenue.”

The research, led by adjunct faculty Shankar Chinta, PhD and postdoctoral fellow Georgia Woods, PhD, showed that postmortem tissue from patients with Parkinson’s displays increased astrocytic senescence, and that cultured human astrocytes exposed to paraquat become senescent as well.

The mice used in this research were six months old, the human equivalent of about 34 years of age. Andersen’s lab hopes to study the impact of astrocytic senescence in mice at varying stages of lifespan to see if Parkinson’s can be reversed in addition to being prevented. “Chronic inflammation fueled by senescence drives many age-related diseases and it’s quite possible that Parkinson’s is among them,” says Andersen, who adds that astrocytic inflammation may play a role in other neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. “This model gives us a way to expand how we look at and potentially treat a range of maladies,” she says.

There is a desperate need for treatments for Parkinson’s. An estimated seven to 10 million people are living with the disease worldwide. In addition to resting tremor and difficulty with walking and balance, Parkinson’s also leads to cognitive decline and depression with symptoms becoming more severe as the disease progresses. About 5 percent of cases are caused by genetics. The remainder are believed to be caused by a combination of both genetic and environmental factors such as family history, genetic mutations, drinking well water and exposure to pesticides or metal.


Citation: Cellular senescence is induced by the environmental neurotoxin paraquat and contributes to neuropathy linked to Parkinson’s disease DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.017.12.092

Other Buck researchers involved in the study include Shankar J. Chinta, Georgia Woods, Marco Demaria, Anand Rane, Ying Zou, Amana McQuade, Subramanian Rajagopalan, Chandani Limbad, David T. Madden and Judith Campisi.

The work was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health grant AG009909, T32-AG000266, Michael J. Fox Foundation, the Ellison Senior Scholar in Aging award, a training grant from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the American-Italian Cancer Foundation and the Buck Institute Impact Circle.

About the Buck Institute for Research on Aging

At the Buck, we aim to end the threat of age-related diseases for this and future generations. We bring together the most capable and passionate scientists from a broad range of disciplines to study mechanisms of aging and to identify therapeutics that slow down aging. Our goal is to increase human health span, or the healthy years of life. Located just north of San Francisco, we are globally recognized as the pioneer and leader in efforts to target aging, the number one risk factor for serious diseases including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cancer, macular degeneration, heart disease, and diabetes. The Buck wants to help people live better longer. Our success will ultimately change healthcare. Learn more at: