Gail A. Laughlin, PhD

            As the U.S. population has aged, interest has grown in identifying factors that predict disease-free aging, especially for the rapidly increasing proportion of men and women who survive to 80 and beyond.

            Although coronary heart disease (CHD) remains the number one cause of death in the U.S., it’s not an inevitable part of aging, believes Dr. Gail Laughlin, assistant professor in Family and Preventive Medicine at the University of California San Diego (UCSD).

            In her SADF-funded research, Dr. Laughlin aims to take advantage of the rich database of the Rancho Bernardo Study (RBS), a population-based study of healthy aging in older adults, now in its 35th year. In “Biological Predictors of Longevity and CHD-Free Survival,” she proposes to identify factors that enhance longevity into the 80s and 90s and those that are protective for the heart in old age and will examine both classic and emerging CHD risk factors.

            Born in 1948 in Hope, Arkansas (the same small southern town as Bill Clinton), Dr. Laughlin has lived mostly in San Diego since graduating from the University of Missouri in 1970. With an undergraduate degree in chemistry, she worked in reproductive medicine research at UCSD for more than 20 years before entering the joint doctoral program in epidemiology of UCSD and San Diego State University in 2000.

            Dr. Laughlin’s primary research goal is to further the understanding of the endocrinology of cardiovascular disease, both from an observational-epidemiological approach and via short-term experiments aimed at discerning underlying mechanisms.

            She is particularly interested in clinical trial testing of hormonal supplementation in older men and women, based in part on her recent work showing adverse associations of hormone deficiencies with cardiovascular risk in older adults of both sexes.

            In her “free” time, Dr. Laughlin enjoys playing tennis and international travel, particularly to Latin American countries. In the early 1980s, she spent several years leading adventure travel trips to Baja, Calif. She is an avid collector of Mexican, Guatemalan and Peruvian arts and crafts.


Phone: 858-822-2416

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