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Aging Institute Research Day 2015: Building Collaborations for the Future


The 9th Annual Aging Institute Research Day took place on March 30, 2015 at the University Club at the University of Pittsburgh. Guests enjoyed wine and hors d’oeuvres while networking with peers and were treated to a panel discussion on healthy brain aging.

This year’s Poster Session included over presentations by clinicians and researchers from throughout the UPMC and University of Pittsburgh systems. Awards were given to exemplary submissions from students, post-doctoral candidates, junior faculty and clinicians. A list of poster abstracts in PDF format can be viewed here.


Candidates for Clinical or Research Doctorates or Master’s Level Students Category

First Place
Brittney Lange-Maia, MPH, Department of Epidemiology, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh. Sensorimotor Peripheral Nerve Functioning and the Longitudinal Relationship with Endurance Walking in the Health, Aging, and Body Composition Study.

Honorable Mention
Mini Jacob, MBBS, MD, Department of Epidemiology, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh. Can Late-life Lifestyles influence End-of-life Morbidity?

Honorable Mention
Samannaaz Khoja, PT, MS, Department of Physical Therapy, School of Health and Rehabilitation Science, University of Pittsburgh. Physical Activity in Adults with Arthritis and its contribution to Health Outcomes.

Post Doctorates Category

First Place
Brian Henry, MD, PhD, Heart and Vascular Institute, Department of Cardiology, University of Pittsburgh. Relaxin Suppresses Atrial Fibrillation in 24 Month Old Rats by Reversing Atrial Fibrosis and Upregulaating Sodium Channels.

Honorable Mention
Tanja Krainz, PhD, Department of Chemistry, University of Pittsburgh. Improvement of Memory Functions in Rodent Models of Accelerating Aging.

Honorable Mention
Daniel Nguyen, MD, Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh. Depression Following Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery Predicts Increased All-Cause Mortality.

Junior Faculty

Honorable Mention
Darlene Monlish, PhD and Jane Cavanaugh, PhD, School of Pharmacy, Duquesne University.

Age-dependent increases in ERK5 activation in breast cancer.

Honorable Mention
Rami Namas, MD, Department of Surgery, University of Pittsburgh. Analysis of Principal Drivers and Dynamic Networks of Systemic Inflammation Suggests Complex Interaction between Age and Injury Severity.

First Place
Bethany Barone Gibbs, PhD, School of Education, Department of Health and Physical Activity, University of Pittsburgh. Reducing Sedentary Behavior vs. Increasing Moderate-to-Vigorous Intensity Physical Activity in Older Adults: a 12-Week Randomized, Clinical Trial.

Clinical Practitioners Doing Quality or Practice Improvement

First Place
Patricia Griffin, BS, Department of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh.Robust innate immunity underlie protection from acute endotoxemia in a long-lived mouse model of successful aging.

Honorable Mention
Namita Ahuja, MD, UPMC Insurance Services Division, UPMC Health Plan. Enhanced Care Program for Transitional Care to Home upon Acute Care or SNF Discharge: A Quality Improvement Study.

Honorable Mention
John G. Hennon, EdD, School of Social Work, University of Pittsburgh. Evaluating an Evidence Based Training Program for Improving Advance Care Planning Conversations in Nursing Homes.

Honorable Mention
Barbara Usher, RN, PhD, GCNS-BC, AHPN, Palliative and Supportive Institute, UPMC and GEC. Evaluating a Pain Reporting and Management Plan for Confused and Non-verbal Long Term Care Residents.

Read all of the abstracts submitted for 2015 Research Day »

Panel Discussion

This year’s panel discussion topic was: Health Policy and Aging. Donald S. Burke, MD, Dean of the Graduate School of Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh gave the key note address at this year’s event.

The panel discussion was led by Charles F. Reynolds, III, MD – Director of the Aging Institute. Panel members included:

  • Jennifer H. Lingler, PhD, CRNP, University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing
  • Susan M. Meyer, PhD, University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy
  • Daniel Rosen, PhD, University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work
  • Elizabeth Skidmore, PhD, OTR/L, University of Pittsburgh School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences

For more information about Research Day, email the Aging Institute at

Photos from the Event

Click on each thumbnail to view a full size version of the photo.