Past and Current Projects
For funding opportunities, please see our .
As part of a supported investigator’s OAIC mentorship plan, s/he will be integrated into all of the relevant training experiences of the OAIC. This includes monthly trainee-focused frailty research conferences, known as the Pepper Scholars Program Research-in-Progress meetings. This forum, attended by students, fellows, and senior and junior faculty, is integral in helping OAIC supported investigators receive critical feedback and collaborative interactions that help research programs to flourish. In addition, a regular journal club is organized as part of this initiative where aging, frailty, and Geriatrics-focused literature is reviewed and potential translational and implications to clinical practice are discussed. Supported investigators will also be expected to present OAIC project results at national meetings of the Gerontological Society of America and the American Geriatrics Society (where appropriate), the National Pepper Center Annual Meeting, and at the Grand Rounds of the Division of Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine at Johns Hopkins University during the research in progress section.
In order to round out skill sets in gerontology, basic biology, methodology and other aging-related topics, supported investigators are encouraged to take graduate courses related to aging offered annually in the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing. These courses include: Biological Basis of Aging; Health Issues for Aging Populations; Innovations in Health Care for Aging Populations; New Frontiers in Gerontology; Epidemiology of Aging; Dynamics of Population Aging; Managing Long-Term Care Services for Aging Populations; Mental Health in Later Life; The Care of Complex Older Adults across Health Care Systems; Palliative Care and Hospice Care: Current Policy Challenges; and the Methods Series in Biostatistics.
Two courses created by Dr. Neal Fedarko, Biology of Aging and Theories of Aging, are also available on the Pepper National website: , along with other informative OAIC-related presentations.
Biostatistics Module: Karen Bandeen-Roche, PhD
Frailty Ascertainment: Beginning of the Pathway to Treatment
Genetic Modules: Johns Hopkins Reynolds Series in Cardiovascular Health
OAIC supported investigators will also have numerous opportunities to learn more about molecular research and aging research through a number of journal clubs and lecture series described below.
COAH Seminars on Aging Series: Under the auspices of the Older Americans Independence Center and the EBA training program, the Johns Hopkins Center on Aging and Health (COAH) has instituted an invited Seminars on Aging Series, held monthly at COAH. Seminars are attended by trainees, Core Faculty, and others with interests in aging. The broad goal of the Seminars on Aging Series is to stimulate interdisciplinary research investigating the health concerns for an aging society, particularly focused on opportunities for prevention, through engaging leading experts in the discussion of research agendas and findings pertaining to the field. Past seminar speakers include James F. Fries, M.D., Bruce McEwen, Ph.D., and James W. Vaupel, Ph.D. among many other distinguished speakers.
Johns Hopkins Division of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology Grand Rounds and Biology of Healthy Aging meetings: Supported investigators will participate in the Geriatric Grand Rounds held at the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center Campus. These rounds highlight clinical and research projects by faculty in the Division of Geriatric Medicine. The biology of frailty group meets once weekly and investigators will be asked to present their work to this group at least twice a year in order to help her integrate into the aging research community at Johns Hopkins.
The McKusick-Nathans Institute on Genetic Medicine (IGM) Journal Club and Seminars: Where appropriate, supported investigators will participate in this forum where investigators gain exposure to current molecular and genetic topics outside of their area of interest. They will also present in this forum. The IGM seminars offer networking opportunities with distinguished scientists in the field of genetics. The OAIC and the Institute of Genetic Medicine seminars offer knowledge on molecular biology and genetics related to chronic diseases that impact frail older adults, as well as specific input on issues related to generation and interpretation and application of molecular data.
Epidemiology and Biostatistics of Aging Research-in-Progress Meetings: Supported investigators will attend the Epidemiology and Biostatistics of Aging (EBA) Research-in-Progress Meetings. These bi-weekly sessions involve trainees, faculty members and others in the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions interested in aging and health. These meetings provide a successful forum for students and faculty to report their research, learn methods for presentation of aging and frailty research, offer and receive research feedback, and discuss quantitative methods and prominent publications informally. The events are also a forum to generate collaborations across disciplines and projects have resulted in jointly authored manuscripts. These meetings also include information on general research skill development (how to develop a hypothesis, write an abstract, how to work with people in other disciplines, etc.) and career development (preparing for a career and looking for a job). The sessions serve to develop trainees’ critical thinking, oral communication skills and knowledge of issues integral to aging research and career development.
Clinical Translation Unit:
As the Older Americans Independence Center (OAIC) moves from primarily observational to interventional studies, the value of creating a unit which would aid investigators in the design, development and implementation of clinical trials became apparent. This Clinical Translation Unit (CTU) is located on the Bayview Medical Campus, which is the primary focus of the division’s clinical activities. Dr. Gerstenblith contributes knowledge concerning clinical intervention trial design. There is also extensive expertise provided by RC-1 and RC-2. In addition to “intellectual capital,” the CTU provides infrastructure elements common to intervention frailty studies, including research assistants trained in the assessment of physical and cognitive frailty, information technology and nursing personnel. In view of the challenges of enrolling patients in clinical trials, the CTU is establishing a registry of patients in the inpatient and outpatient geriatric facilities who are willing to consider participation in clinical and intervention studies. If they have an interest in participating, a standardized physical and cognitive frailty assessment is performed and the information is entered into the database which is accessible by OAIC personnel to assess candidacy for these studies.