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Research Program Areas

Dr. Ao-Lin Hsu

The faculty of the Geriatrics Center and Institute of Gerontology receives more grant support from the National Institute on Aging than any other faculty of any other institution in the country. Drawing on the strength and breadth of this faculty expertise, the Geriatrics Center and Institute of Gerontology support research in a broad range of areas related to aging. Research is being conducted across many disciplines in basic biomedical science, translational and clinical research, behavior and social studies, and health services delivery.  These investigations share a common goal: to enhance the independence of older adults by improved understanding of the aging process and related health outcomes. To this end, research programs at the Geriatrics Center and Institute of Gerontology focus on key programmatic areas:

Biogerontology

Basic research studies are conducted at the cellular and molecular level by a team of approximately 70 faculty members, technicians, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate and undergraduate students. Their work examines the effects of aging on cell function, molecular pathways, and late-life diseases in human and animal model systems.

Biomechanics and Mobility

The Biomechanics Laboratory and Mobility Research Laboratory study performance, mobility assessment, bladder and pelvic muscle coordination, and other aspects of biomechanical and musculoskeletal function, and provide quantitative biomechanical assessment to define positive outcomes in quantitative terms.

Aging Populations

A large body of work is being conducted by Institute of Gerontology faculty to better understand the risk factors and outcomes of diseases and conditions that affect older adults. Data from large population-based studies (such as the NIA-funded Health and Retirement Study) and administrative datasets (such as Medicare and Medicaid) are being used for these studies. The goal of these studies is to identify factors that might reduce the risk for chronic diseases and geriatric conditions in older adults, and improve the delivery, affordability and quality of long-term care in both home-based and institutional settings. Researchers are working to assess care delivery in older populations to develop model approaches for delivering the most cost-effective care to the growing number of older adults.

Clinical and Translational Research

Translational research links basic and clinical investigations on aging and common health problems of older adults. Faculty are engaged in laboratory and clinical studies of a number of aging related diseases such as type 2 diabetes mellitus, hypertension, congestive heart failure, arthritis, depression, Alzheimer’s disease and other neurologic disorders. Research is also being conducted on a variety of age-related conditions including frailty, infections, and multiple chronic conditions to develop new approaches and therapies for treatment.