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Pilot Seed Grant Project Past Recipients

2012 Recipients


Structural and Functional Brain Reorganization for Sensory Substitution in the Elderly and Blind

Kevin C. Chan, PhD

The main objective is to identify the structural and functional brain connections that underlie the mechanisms of cross modal plasticity in aged and blind subjects using advanced, non-invasive magnetic resonance imaging techniques and the BrainPort® tactile-vision sensory substitution device.


Auricular Point Acupressure to Manage Chronic Low Back Pain in Older Adults

Chao-Hsing Yeh, PhD, RN

The three specific aims of the study are to: assess the feasibility of recruiting chronic low back pain patients who are over 65 years of age to assess their adherence, the safety/tolerability and satisfaction with an auricular point acupressure intervention designed to reduce chronic low back pain; compare APA outcomes of pain intensity and physical function between two groups; and to explore potential physiological and psychological mediators that may contribute to pain relief resulting from APA.


Ultra-Structural Characteristics of Microvasculature and Hippocampal Sub-Regions in Response to 2-year Physical Activity Intervention

Caterina Rosano, MD, PhD;
Howard Aizenstein, MD, PhD

The purpose is to quantify markers of vascularization and ultrastructure in relationship with mobility and cognition in LIFE-M participants at study entry and to compare markers of vascularization and ultrastructure in the group adhering to 2-years walking intervention as compared to the control group of stretching and toning.


Zebrafish Parkinson's Disease Models for Drug Recovery and Evaluation of the role of Aging in Pathogenesis

Edward R. Burton, MD, DPhil, FRCP

The purpose of the study is to generate new models for identifying neuroprotective drugs for Parkinson's Disease and elucidating the role of aging in pathogenesis.


Client-Centered Assessment for Geriatric Primary Care: A Feasibility Study

Pamela E. Toto, PhD, OTR.L, BCG, FAOTA

The purpose of the project is to evaluate the feasibility of instrumentation using Goal Attainment Scaling (GAS) with the medically complex client in a multi-disciplinary geriatrics care center and to identify themes emerging from the GAS process in relation to coordinated care planning.


2011 Recipients


On the Move: Optimizing Elder Exercise Inside the Health Care System

Jennifer S. Brach, PhD, PT;
Pamela Peele, PhD;
Subashan Perera, PhD

The objectives of this study are to continue to build the research team to determine the feasibility of recruiting and retaining older adults into the study, to document variability of the outcomes of the Silver & Fit® intervention and to develop the system to obtain the necessary exercise adherence, healthcare utilization, and cost information.


Development of a Protocol for Disclosing Amyloid Imaging Results in Mild Cognitive Impairment

Jennifer Hagerty Lingler, PhD, RN, FNP;
Scott Roberts, PhD;
Keith Johnson, MD;
Jason Karawish, MD;
Amanda Gentry, MPH, Project Director

The purpose of the project is to develop a standardized protocol for the disclosure of amyloid imaging results in the context of MCI using an iterative approach involving a panel comprised of local and external experts in neuroimaging, risk communication, regulatory affairs, and bioethics, and to establish the acceptability of an amyloid imaging results disclosure protocol among patients with mild cognitive impairment and their immediate family members.


Inflammation in Cognitive Aging

Anna L. Marsland, PhD;
Peter J. Gianaros, PhD

The goal of the project is to collect pilot data examining whether peripheral inflammation in midlife is associated with white matter atrophy and microstructural alterations, which have been associated with cognitive aging.


Elucidating the Role of Lamin B1 in Aging Dependent Demyelination

Quasar Saleem Padiath, PhD

The purpose of the project is the generation and characterization of mice models for Autosomal Dominant Leukodystrophy.


Use of Functional MRI to Validate NIRS Investigation of Brain Control During Urgency and Urge Urinary Incontinence

Stasa Tadic, MD;
Neil Resnick, MD;
Werner Shaefer, MD;
Theodore Huppert, PhD;
Derek Griffiths, MD;
Becky Clarkson, PhD

The goal of the project is to assess whether functional near-infrared spectroscopy, fNIRS, can reliably record responses in the brain concordant with functional magnetic resonance imaging, FMRI, in areas known to be relevant for bladder function during filling of the bladder and urge sensation.


2010 Recipients


The Anti-Aging Effect of Electrical Stimulation on Aged Skeletal Muscle Regenerative Potential

Fabrisia Ambrosio, PhD, MPT (PI)

The purpose of this pilot study is to investigate whether the application of an electrical stimulation (E-STIM) protocol in aged individuals promotes signaling pathways associated with activation of the myogenic program, while concomitantly inhibiting fibrogenic pathways.


Impaired Lipid Oxidation in Elderly Muscle

Bret Goodpaster Ph.D.;
Dr. Paul Coen

The purpose of this study is to compare skeletal muscle and hepatic insulin sensitivity, fatty acid oxidation,and accumulation of intracellular lipid in young and old C57/BL6J mice., and to exampine the effect of three weeks of exercise on these factors.


Mechanisms Linking Hot Flashes to Cardiovascular Risk

Rebecca C. Thurston, PhD

The primary aim of this pilot study is to examine relationships between hot flashes, cardiac vagal control, and endothelial function


2009 Recipients


The Effect of Known Metabolic Drug-drug Interactions Involving Psychotropic Drugs on the Risk of Experiencing a Fall in the Nursing Home Setting

Steve Handler, MD, MS;
Richard D. Boyce, PhD;
Joseph Hanlon, PharmD, MS;
Roger Day, ScD;
Melissa I. Saul, MS

The objectives of this project are to:

  • Construct and incorporate into MARS-LTC a knowledge-base that identifies antipsychotics, SSRIs, and benzodiazepines that are highly metabolized, the specific metabolic clearance pathways that they depend on, and drugs that can affect their clearance by metabolic inhibition.
  • Conduct a prospective cohort study to determine if the potential metabolic inhibition DDIs identified by Aim One are associated with an increased risk of falls among NH residents.

Use of Chromatin Immunoprecipitation to Identify daf-12 Target Genes

Alfred L. Fisher, MD, PhD

The aims of this study are to:

  • Identify direct genomic targets of daf-12 regulation through ChIPchip. Validate ChIP-chip data via Q-PCR of precipitated DNA

2008 Recipients


Exploring Neural Mechanisms of Attentional Control in Memory and Aging

Mark E. Wheeler, Ph.D.;
David A. Wolk, M.D.

The goal of the project is to study how age-related changes in memory performance are mediated by attentional control.


Improving Quality of Life in Nursing Homes Through Structured Resident Interviews

Howard B. Degenholtz, Ph.D.

The project will test the efficacy of a novel approach to improving quality of life of nursing home residents.


2007 Recipients


Inhibition of NF‐κB Transcriptional Activation to Retard Aging

Laura J. Niedernhofer, M.D., Ph.D;
Paul D. Robbins, Ph.D.

This study aims to:

  • Measure expression and activation of NF‐κB in ERCC1‐deficient mice and to compare it to young and old wild‐type mice.
  • Determine if an inhibitor of NF‐κB prevents skin photoaging in ERCC1‐deficient mice.
  • Determine if systemic administration of an NF‐κB inhibitor delays aging of ERCC1‐deficient mice.
  • The results from these experiments will yield novel information about the molecular basis of aging as well as a rational strategy for preventing age-associated degenerative changes.

Genetic Contribution of Serotonin to the Molecular Signature of Aging in the Human Brain

Etienne Sibille, Ph.D;
Jennifer Joeyen‐Waldorf

This proejct will estimate the influence of a common DNA polymorphism that affects 5‐HT1BR level, on the “molecular signature” of aging in the human postmortem brain.

Putative molecular mechanisms will then be investigated through biological pathwaybased bioinformatic analyses.

Based on the parallel analysis of two additional genes (Sirtuin 5, ortholog of known age-related genes and potential modulator of the Htr1b KO phenotype, and, Klotho, a “control” gene with characterized role in aging), a hypothetical mechanistic model will be formulated for the role of 5‐HT in brain aging, which in turn will lead subsequent research.


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