University of Southern California

USC Global Conference

Global Challenges for Humanity
Seoul, Korea
May 23-25, 2013

Track 1 – 1:45 PM, Friday, May 24

Confirmed speakers as of May 1, 2013.


Pinchas Cohen NewPinchas Cohen is the Dean of the USC Davis School of Gerontology and serves as the Executive Director of the Ethel Percy Andrus Gerontology Center.  He graduated in 1986 with highest honors from the Technion Medical School in Israel and trained at Stanford University.  He held faculty positions at the University of Pennsylvania and UCLA.  He received numerous awards for his research, including a NIA “EUREKA” Award and the Transformative RO1-Grant from the Director of National Institutes of Health. He also received the Glenn Award for Research in Aging.

Cohen published over 250 papers in top scientific journals focusing on aging, cancer, and diabetes; with an emphasis on the emerging science of mitochondrial-derived peptides, which he discovered.

He holds several patents for novel peptides and is the co-founder of CohBar, a biotechnology company developing mitochondrial peptides for diseases of aging. His work has been cited in the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times. He serves on the boards of several professional journals and societies, including the American Federation for Aging Research. Cohen is president-elect of the Growth Hormone Society and served on the Endocrine Society Steering Committee.


Valter Longo NewValter Longo, is the Edna M. Jones Professor in the USC Davis School of Gerontology, professor in biological science, and the director of the Longevity Institute. Longo’s laboratory is interested in understanding the fundamental mechanisms of aging by using genetics and biochemistry techniques. By studying simple organisms, mice and humans he is also investigating both dietary and pharmacological interventions that protect cells and improve the prevention and treatment of cancer, Alzheimer’s and other diseases of aging. The most recent studies are also focusing on interventions that can affect stem cell-based regeneration.

The Longevity Institute, under Longo’s direction, includes over 40 faculty members focusing on research on topics ranging from regeneration to dietary restriction to engineering to improve the healthy lifespan.

Valter Longo has received numerous national and international awards, including the 2012 Nathan Shock Award from the National Institute of Health and the 2012 Vincent Cristofalo Rising Star Award in Aging Research from the American Federation of Aging Research.

Valter Longo was born and raised in Genoa, Italy and received his undergraduate degree from the University of North Texas in 1992, where he majored in biochemistry with a minor in jazz performance. He continued his studies at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) where he started his graduate studies in the pathology department but received his Ph.D. in biochemistry in 1997. He completed his postdoctoral training in neurobiology at USC.


Mara Mather NewMara Mather is a professor of gerontology and psychology at USC.  Mather’s research focuses on how emotion and stress affect memory and decisions and how such influences differ depending on one’s age and gender. She is well known for her research into the positivity effect of older adults’ attention and memory, uncovering findings that suggest this effect is the result of strategic processes that help maintain well-being.

Another of Mather’s innovations is a new arousal-biased competition theory, which aims to explain how emotion shapes memory. Her exploration of stress-induced cognitive differences between men and women made international headlines, with outlets such as TIME, Nature and ABC News covering various aspects of her work.

Her research elucidating the interaction of emotion, cognition, and aging has been recognized with the American Psychological Association Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution to Psychology and the Springer Early Career Achievement Award in Research on Adult Development and Aging. Mather also received a National Institutes of Health K02 Career Development award and the Richard Kalish Innovative Publication Award from the Gerontological Society of America. Highly respected as a researcher, mentor and expert, she holds an A.B. in psychology from Stanford University as well as a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from Princeton University.

Sang Chul Park NewSang Chul Park has received his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from Seoul National University (SNU) medical school, where he has served as professor of biochemistry for 33 years. He pioneered aging research as director of the SNU Institute on Aging, which was designated as the Center of Excellence for Aging and Apoptosis Research by Ministry of Science and Technology and the WHO Collaborating Center. After SNU, he served as director of Lee Gil Ya Cancer and Diabetes Institute at Gachon University, and is now the vice president of Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology.

He has contributed a great deal to the development of biomedical sciences in Korea, serving as presidents of the Korean Society of Biomedical Gerontology, the Federation of Korean Gerontological Societies, the Korean Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the Korean Society of Molecular and Cellular Biology, and the International Association of Biomedical Gerontology.

Park initiated the Korea-Japan Exchange Program for Aging Research, Joint Research Group for Cancer and Aging, and Asian Aging Research Core. He served as editor to both the Mechanism of Aging and Development and the Journal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology.

To further the study of human longevity, he initiated the Korean Centenarian Study.  Park also led research on metabolic and genetic regulatory system in relation to cancer and aging, focusing on aging and longevity.  Due to his distinguished contributions to both academic and social concerns, he has been awarded a variety of commendations by academic and medical societies, including the medal of honor (Moran Jang) from the President of Korea.