DuPRI’s activities in the field of aging as well as aging research infrastructure development are supported in part by an NIA P30 Center grant awarded to Duke University from July 2009 – June 2014. The grant is managed by the PI: James W. Vaupel and the DuPRI Executive Committee. While the focus of the grant is on the biodemography of aging, the grant supports work in all fields associated with the demography of aging at Duke and the general dissemination of aging research, especially through the DuPRI website. Key activities include:
Duke University was one of 14 organizations in the US to receive an NIA P30 award to support a Center on the Demography and Economics of Aging. In addition to Duke, NIA’s P30 "Aging" centers are based at the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Chicago, Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Michigan, the National Bureau of Economic Research, the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, the RAND Corporation, the University of Southern California, the University of California at Los Angeles, Syracuse University and the University of Wisconsin. (See the NIA Centers' website)
The biodemography of aging, the focus of the Duke Center on the Demography of Aging grant, has two complementary focuses. The first emphasizes research on medical, genetic and physiological aspects of human health and survival. The second covers biological aspects of aging across the tree of life, from humans to birds to worms to plants to bacteria, in a search for general principles of aging.
A new field - evolutionary biodemography - links biodemographic research on humans and other species with evolutionary forces that shape life histories of survival, fertility and growth. The goal is to understand how evolution shapes demographic patterns and how demographic patterns shape evolution. Questions include: why are lifespans for some species numbered in days and for others in years or centuries? Why do many species, in fact most, suffer senescence – but not all? Why do some species give birth to a few offspring and others to thousands? Why are some species very small in size whereas others are very large?