Steven A. Garan is the Director of Bioinformatics at CREA and serves on it’s Advisory Board, he is also a researcher at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. While at the University of California, Berkeley, he played a major role in the invention and the development of the Automated Imaging Microscope System (AIMS). While at UC Berkeley, Garan collaborated for many years with a group from Paola S. Timiras’s lab, on the role that caloric restriction plays in maintaining estrogen receptor-alpha and IGH-1 receptor immunoreactivity in various nuclei of the mouse hypothalamus. Garan was also the director of the Aging Research Centre, and is a leading scientist in the field of aging research. His numerous publications, include articles on systems biology, the effects of caloric restriction on the mouse hypothalamus and on the Automated Imaging Microscope System (AIMS). He is best known for the coining of word “Phenomics”, which was defined in an abstract titled: “Phenomics: a new direction for the study of neuroendocrine aging”, that was published in the journal Experimental Gerontology.
Steven A. Garan, was the lead scientists that developed the AIMS system along with Warren Freitag, Jason Neudorf and members of the UC Berkeley lab where AIMS was developed and utilized. Many journals articles have been published about the system and the results that it produced. Since the completion of the first version in 1998, newer versions were developed, with the final version being completed in 2007. Empowering investigators to accurately count specific cell populations is essential to all fields of neurobiology. While computer assisted counting technology has been in use for over a decade, advances in an Automated Imaging Microscope System (AIMS), now insure 97% accuracy when comparing computer counts to human counts for both nuclear and cytoplasmic stained tissue. More importantly, regional analysis can now be customized so that only cell populations within specified anatomic regions will be targeted for counting, thus reducing the background noise of non-immunoreactive cells when characterizing specific cell populations. This application was recently used to successfully map the density and distribution of both nuclear expressed estrogen receptor-alpha and cytoplasmicly expressed IGF-1 receptor in specific hypothalamic nuclei. Furthermore, AIMS can now detect intra-hypothalamic differences in receptor expression and measure phenomenon such as lateralization. By using this technology, the evaluation of tissue-level biology can be used to establish neuroendocrine biomarkers of aging, and analyze the neuroendocrine effects of caloric restriction and gene knockout models that extend the lifespan.