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Aging and Health

Pepper Scholars Program

The JHU OAIC collaboration initiative, known as the Pepper Scholars Program, consists primarily of monthly research-in-progress sessions that allow for OAIC-supported investigator interaction and discourse, along with progress updates and access to mentors and methodological experts.  The program’s research-in-progress centerpiece is bolstered by an online collaboration tool, an ongoing seminar series, grant review sessions, and research facilitation by the center administrator on this effort.  The main goal of the Pepper Scholars Program is to positively affect collaborative behaviors and investigator productivity through interactive sessions and other mechanisms of interaction and support.  This program was developed during fall 2009 by Drs. Bandeen-Roche, Gerstenblith and Walston, and the center administrator, Brian Buta; the first session was held in February 2010.  

Pepper Scholars Program meetings normally occur on first Wednesday of each month from 12:00-1:15pm in the large conference room of the Center on Aging and Health (2024 E. Monument St, Suite 2-700).   Each session includes brief progress updates, and a 30-40 minute presentation by an OAIC-supported investigator, followed by discussion.  Lunch is provided.

Pepper Scholars Program: 2014-2015 Research in Progress Sessions

  • September 2, 2015 - TBA
  • October 17, 2015 - TBA
  • November 4, 2015 - TBA
  • December 2, 2015 - TBA
  • January 6, 2016 - TBA
  • February 3, 2016 - TBA
  • March 2, 2016 - TBA
  • April 6, 2016 - TBA
  • May 4, 2016 - TBA
  • June 1, 2016 - TBA
  • July 6, 2016 - TBA
  • August 3, 2016 - TBA

Past Sessions of the Pepper Scholars Program

  • July 3, 2013 - Dr. Peter Abadir: “Losartan Reverses Age-Related Changes in Mitobiogenesis, Myocardial Function, Oxidative Damage, and Energy Metabolism”.
  • May 1, 2013 - Dr. Jeffrey Leek: "What Can We Really Say with RNA-Sequencing?"  And Dr. Aliaksei Pustavoitau: "Use of p16INK4a Transcriptional Factor Level as a Predictor of Perioperative Outcomes in Older Cardiac Surgical Patients: An Update"
  • April 3, 2013 - Dr. Franco D'Alessio: "Age-dependent Resolution of Lung Inflammation"
  • February 6, 2013 - Dr. Rhondalyn McLean: "Cardiopulmonary Bybass, Frailty and Inflamation"
  • December 5, 2012 - Dr. John Harmon; Lixin Liu; Frank Lay, Small Pilot Investigator:  “Combined Bone Marrow Derived Angiogenic Cell/Hypoxia Inducible Factor-1 Therapy to Improve Wound Healing in Elderly Mice"
  • November 7, 2012 - Dr. Rita Kalyani, RCDC / Pilot investigator: "Hyperglycemia, Muscle Loss, and Frailty"
  • September 12, 2012 - Dr. Peter Abadir, RCDC / Small Pilot investigator: "Translating Mitochondrial Biology into Wound Healing Applications."
  • May 2, 2012 - Dr. Devon Dobrosielski, RCDC investigator: "Treating Sleep Apnea to Prevent Frailty: An update."
  • April 4, 2012 - Dr. Guy Marti, Small Pilot investigator: "HIF-1alpha Gene Therapy Combined with HIF-1 Activated Bone Marrow Derived Angiogenic Cells Therapy Improved Burn Wound Healing in Old Mice."March 7, 2012.  Dr. Yuri Agrawal, Pilot investigator: "Vestibular Function and Aging."
  • February 1, 2012 - Dr. Ronald Cohn and Dr. Tyesha Burks, Pilot investigator, and Diversity Supplement investigator: "Therapeutic Modulation of Signaling Pathways Involved in Sarcopenia."
  • January 4, 2012 - Dr. Sameera Talegawkar, Small Pilot investigator:  "Dietary Patterns and Age-Associated Functional Decline."
  • December 10, 2011 - Dr. Sean Leng, RCDC / Pilot investigator: Immune Re-modulation and Influenza Immunization in Frail Elderly."
  • November 2, 2011 - Dr. Aliaksei Pustavoitau, RCDC investigator:  "A Prospective Cohort Study Evaluating the Use of P16 Transcriptional Factor Level as a Marker of Molecular Age and Predictor of Perioperative Outcomes."
  • October 12, 2011 - Dr. George Wang, RCDC investigator: "Comprehensive Characterization of Antigen-specific T-Cell Receptor Repetoire Reveals Unexpected Mechanism of T-Cell Response to Viral Infection."
  • September 7, 2011 - Dr. Peter Abadir, RCDC / Small Pilot investigator: "Real Time Aging, Muscles and Cytokines."
  • August 3, 2011 - Dr. Yuri Agrawal, Pilot investigator: "Physiology of Vestibular Function and Aging."
  • July 6, 2011 - Dr. Jiou Wang, Genetics Core Development Project investigator: "Aging, Proteotoxicity and Frailty."
  • June 1, 2011 - Dr. Peter Abadir, RCDC investigator: "Subcellular Localization of Angiotensin System."
  • May 4, 2011 - Dr. Rita Kalyani, Pilot investigator: "Impaired Glucose Metabolism: An Unavoidable Companion of Aging?"
  • April 6, 2011 - Dr. Devon Dobrosielski, RCDC investigator: "Treating sleep apnea to prevent frailty."
  • March 2, 2011 - Dr. Cindy Roy, RCDC / Small Pilot investigator: "Inflammatory Regulators of Anemia in Aged Mice."
  • February 2, 2011 - Dr. Ravi Varadhan, Biostatistics Core Development Project investigator: “Dynamic Network Models for the Study of Frailty” 
  • January 5, 2011 - Dr. Sean Leng, Pilot investigator. 
  • December 1, 2010 - Dr. Jeremy Walston, PI, JHU OAIC: "Overview of the State of the Art Biological Findings Related to Frailty and Late Life Decline."
  • November 3, 2010 - Dr. Frank Lin, RCDC investigator: "Hearing Loss and Aging”
  • October 6, 2010 - Dr. Ronald Cohn, Pilot investigator: "Maintaining Skeletal Muscle Mass: Lesson Learned from Aging and Hibernation."
  • July 7, 2010 - Dr. Devon Dobrosielski, RCDC investigator: "Sleep Apnea and Frailty."
  • May 12, 2010 - Dr. Erwin Tan, RCDC investigator: "Physical Activity and Experience Corps Study."
  • March 10, 2010 - Dr. Cindy Roy, RCDC investigator: "Development of Translational Tools for Anemia Associated with Aging."
  • February 24, 2010 - Dr. Enid Neptune, Pilot/Small Pilot investigator: 'Transcriptional Analysis of the Aged Lung Phenotype."

Click here to access the SharePoint Site for the Pepper Scholars Program.

If you have questions or would like to request access to the Pepper Scholars Program intranet site, please contact

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Investigators from the JHU OAIC have recently published the following articles:

Drs. Jeremy Walston and Karen Bandeen-Roche, "Frailty: A Tale of Two Concepts," in the journal, BMC Medicine

Dr. Bandeen-Roche and colleagues, "Frailty in Older Adults: A Nationally Representative Profile in the United States" in the Journals of Gerontology: Medical Sciences (PubMed) (Press Release)

Dr. Damani Piggott and colleagues, "Frailty, Inflammation, and Mortality Among Persons Aging with HIV Infection and Injection Drug Use" in the Journals of GerontologyP Medical Sciences


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Please click here for more information about the online Frailty Assessment Tool.

The JHU OAIC is currently accepting proposals for research funding though its Pilot/Exploratory Studies Core, Biostatistics Core, and Biological Mechanisms Core.  Applications are due by July 10, 2015.

Please click here to learn about our Pepper Scholars Program, a monthly collaborative initiative for investigators interested in ongoing aging and frailty research at the Johns Hopkins OAIC.

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