Steven Prior

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ADAPT Program Faculty Mentors

Faculty mentors are all from the University of Maryland School of Public Health and all have current and pending extramural funding in content areas that are highly relevant to cardiovascular disease and aging health.  Because of the School of Public Health’s emphasis on biomedical and behavioral factors surrounding important public health issues relevant to residents of Maryland and surrounding communities, the nation, and beyond, much of the faculty’s research programs are in these areas.  In particular, substantial research is on behavior, specifically physical activity/exercise training, as an exposure to affect outcomes relevant to aging health. The faculty offers a mix of expertise that ranges from laboratory-based bench research to applied community-based research.

Faculty Mentors

Cardiovascular Disease and Aging

James Hagberg, PhD
Professor – Departments of Kinesiology, Medicine, Public Health and Epidemiology

Dr. James Hagberg's previous research funded by NIA and NHLBI assessed the genetics of CVD risk factor responses to exercise training in sedentary older men and women. He maintains a database of CV fitness, plasma lipoprotein-lipids, body composition, bone density, glucose tolerance, insulin sensitivity, and inflammatory, coagulation, and fibrinolysis measures from before and after a standardized 6-mo exercise intervention in ~200 older men and women from this study. This database contains ~40 genotypes, numerous phenotypes, and banked plasma and DNA samples for these individuals. Trainees could analyze new relationships among the available genotype and phenotype data, or they could measure new phenotypes in the plasma samples or genotype new polymorphisms in the DNA samples. Currently, Dr. Hagberg studies the effects of exercise and lack of exercise on circulating angiogenic cells, adult stem cells that have regenerative capacities within the CV system, in middle- to older-aged healthy individuals and clinical populations. Dr. Hagberg’s long-term commitment to aging research is clearly demonstrated by his 20+ yr appointment in the Division of Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine at the UM Baltimore School of Medicine and the Baltimore VA Medical Center. Dr. Hagberg has a long history of mentoring as the major advisor for 16 PhD and 20 masters students. He and his lab mentored 10 Trainees in the first 5 yrs of the UM ADAPT Program and 19 in the first 10 yrs of the UM STAR program.

Sarah Glancy, PhD
Assistant Professor – Department of Kinesiology

Dr. Sarah Glancy earned her PhD from Arizona State University in 2012 in Exercise Biochemistry and joined the University of Maryland faculty in 2017 after completing postdoctoral training at NHLBI and George Washington University. Her research addresses the matching of mitochondrial energy production to energy demand. i.e.how muscle cells increase ATP production at the onset of increased metabolic demands, such as exercise. She is funded by the American Heart Association to investigate how the cellular milieu affects energy production in cardiac mitochondria in a model of heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF), the most common form of heart failure among older adults. In fact, HFpEF has been identified as a geriatric syndrome, and Dr. Glancy's research aims to define the age-related changes that occur resulting in impaired ability of the heart to meet energy demands in HFpEF. Trainees could participate in bench research, performing experiments measuring calcium uptake in heart mitochondria. Dr. Glancy has mentored a number of both undergraduate and graduate students during her graduate school and postdoctoral training. Since she only recently joined the University of Maryland faculty, she has not yet had the opportunity to graduate any masters or doctoral students or to mentor any UM ADAPT trainees.

Steven Jay, PhD
Associate Professor – Department of Bioengineering

Dr. Steven Jay earned his biomedical engineering PhD from Yale University in 2009 and then completed postdoctoral training at Harvard/MIT. His laboratory develops rationally designed CV disease therapeutic biotechnologies involving exosomes, other extracellular vesicles, and engineered proteins. A driving force behind his work is to translate discoveries and innovations into clinical therapies. He is specifically interested in the characterization of extra-cellular vesicle (EV) trafficking in various biological systems, the development of scalable EV production and purification methods, and the assessment of the therapeutic potential of EV-mediated microRNA and long non-coding RNA delivery, especially for CV disease, cancer, and diabetes-related wound healing – all of which are major issues in the aging population of the US and other developed countries around the world. He currently collaborates with Dr. Hagberg to examine the effects of exercise on endothelial function to enhance therapeutic vascularization. He also directs an honors undergraduate student team that is investigating similar mechanisms to potentially treat osteoarthritis and has mentored a number of masters and PhD students.

Alisa Morss Cline, PhD
Associate Professor – Department of Bioengineering

Dr. Alisa Morss Cline completed her PhD at MIT, was then on the faculty at Drexel University, and joined the University of Maryland faculty in 2019. Her goal is to understand how integrated biochemical and biomechanical factors contribute to CV disease, a disease especially prominent in older individuals. Specifically, she changes the biochemical environment (e.g., by changing glucose levels or extracellular matrix proteins) and assesses how endothelial cells respond to mechanics (e.g., shear stress, cyclic strain, substrate stiffness). She also perturbs the mechanical environment and measures how endothelial cells respond to biochemical signals, such as angiogenic growth factors. Her lab is very interested in endothelial metabolism, which has recently emerged as a therapeutic option to reduce microvascular angiogenesis in cancer; however, little is known about how endothelial metabolism impacts macrovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis. She has been a PI on an NSF REU, NSF education grant, and a Department of Education Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN) program, thus she has substantial experience mentoring undergraduate students. In addition, she has 6 undergraduates working in her lab at present, plus 2 high school students. She has also mentored several under-represented minority doctoral students in a Bridge to the Doctorate program, one of whom is in her lab currently. She also directs a summer bridge program for incoming Drexel University under-represented minority women freshmen.

Steven Prior, PhD
Assistant Professor – Department of Kinesiology

Dr. Steven Prior received his PhD in Kinesiology from the University of Maryland, then completed postdoctoral training, and joined the faculty at the Baltimore VA Medical Center Division of Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine. He joined the University of Maryland faculty in 2017. However, he continues to maintain a faculty position in the Division of Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine at the UM Baltimore School of Medicine and the Baltimore VA Medical Center. He has published 30 manuscripts and is funded by NIH and the VA. Dr. Prior studies the mechanisms by which the risk for age-associated cardiometabolic diseases, functional deficits, and associated vascular impairments are improved in older adults with exercise training interventions. These studies include extensive cardiometabolic and functional phenotyping, as well as skeletal muscle and plasma samples in ~70 older adults. Trainees could analyze relationships among novel disease predictors and cardiometabolic and functional phenotypes in older adults or assay samples for novel targets. His research is funded by an NIA grant to assess exercise training outcomes in older peripheral arterial disease patients. He has mentored a number of graduate students, as well as 6 postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty members, but he has not yet had the opportunity to mentor UM ADAPT trainees as he only recently joined the University of Maryland faculty.

Sushant Ranadive, PhD
Assistant Professor – Department of Kinesiology

Dr. Sushant Ranadive received his PhD in exercise physiology from the University of Illinois and completed post-doctoral training at the Mayo Clinic. He joined the University of Maryland faculty in 2017. He has 41 publications on vascular function and exercise training in postmenopausal women and sex differences in vascular function, inflammation and oxidative stress. Dr. Ranadive’s research addresses vascular, cardiac, and autonomic physiology directly focusing on aging and racial differences. One major question he is addressing is the significant gap in our knowledge regarding the mechanisms relating to the higher prevalence of hypertension in postmenopausal women as compared to age-matched men. Trainees can participate in data collection and analyses for these projects. Dr. Ranadive has mentored a high school student, 3 undergraduate students, 1 medical student and 1 MD-PhD student previously at the Mayo Clinic.

Kellee White, PhD
Associate Professor – Department of Health Policy and Management

Dr. Kellee White received her PhD in epidemiology in 2008 from Columbia University and then completed social epidemiology postdoctoral training at Harvard. She was on the faculty at the University of South Carolina for 8 yrs before joining the University of Maryland faculty in 2018. Her specific training and expertise in social and CV epidemiology has allowed her to develop a research agenda related to the social determinants of cardiometabolic risk factor control and management, with an emphasis on healthy aging among middle-aged and older adults. To achieve this, she has completed several epidemiological studies using the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), a multi-ethnic nationally representative sample of middle-aged and older adults. She is currently PI of two studies involving HRS data, one of which examines the contribution of multimorbidity typologies to racial disparities in Alzheimer’s Disease. In addition, Dr. White has mentored over 75 undergraduates, master’s, doctoral students, and junior faculty members to this point in her career.

Hearing and Aging

Samira Anderson, PhD, AudD
Associate Professor – Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences

Dr. Samira Anderson received her AudD in 2000 from the University of Florida and then completed a PhD in Auditory Neuroscience at Northwestern University in 2012. She joined the University of Maryland faculty in 2013. Her research investigates the neural mechanisms contributing to the hearing difficulties evident in older adults. The results of these studies are then used to inform treatment approaches to age-related hearing loss through the optimization of hearing aid and cochlear implant fitting strategies and through innovative approaches to enhance auditory neuroplasticity. Her approach combines electrophysiology, magnetoencephalography, and behavioral assessments in humans. Her work is currently supported by the NIA and NIDCD and is part of Dr. Gordon-Salant’s NIA-funded Program Project on hearing. Dr. Anderson is dedicated to mentoring students of diverse backgrounds, and in particular, to teach them translational approaches to improving quality of life in older adults. To this point in her career, she has mentored 4 under-represented minority high school students, and 24 undergraduate and 13 graduate students.

Sandra Gordon-Salant, PhD
Professor – Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences

Dr. Sandra Gordon-Salant received her PhD in 1981 in audiology from Northwestern University. She has been on the University of Maryland faculty since then and from 1987 to 2000 she was a Guest Scientific Investigator at the NIA extramural laboratories in Baltimore. Her career has been devoted to studying age-related hearing loss, with a focus on factors contributing to speech understanding difficulties in degraded listening situations in older individuals. She has published numerous investigations of speech perception and psychoacoustic abilities among younger and older listeners, designed prospective investigations of longitudinal changes in hearing, and studied the benefits of auditory training for older hearing-impaired individuals. Her research has culminated in 80+ publications including “The Aging Auditory System” published in 2010 for which she served as the senior editor. She has had NIA funding since 1989 for “Auditory temporal processes, speech perception and aging.” Dr. Gordon-Salant also is the PI of an NIA Project Grant titled, “Neuroplasticity in Auditory Aging” and is also Co-Director of the NIH-funded T32 Training Program on Comparative and Evolutionary Biology of Hearing at UM. Her mentorship experience as co-director of the T32 training grant and as a research advisor to numerous undergraduate and graduate students, amply demonstrate that she has the requisite qualifications to serve as a Mentor in UM ADAPT for under-represented minority students.

Matt Goupell, PhD
Associate Professor – Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences

Dr. Matt Goupell earned his PhD in physics and psychological acoustics in 2005 from Michigan State University and then completed postdoctoral training at the Austrian Academy of Science and the University of Wisconsin. He joined the University of Maryland faculty in 2011. His research investigates hearing abilities in typically hearing individuals as well as those who have gone deaf and received a cochlear implant. Testing involves behavioral sensory, cognitive, and electrophysiological measures. Because many cochlear implant users are older, investigating the effects of aging is critical in comparing typically hearing and cochlear implant listeners. Trainees could test younger and older participants, do hearing evaluations, perform cognitive assessments, and develop programming/analysis/numerical modeling skills. Dr. Goupell has a long history of mentoring as the major advisor for 5 PhD, 15 Doctor of Audiology students, and 5 undergraduate honors students. He has involved 40 undergraduates in his research over the last 7 years.

Jonathon Simon, PhD
Professor – Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Dr. Jonathon Simon earned his PhD in physics from the University of California-Santa Barbara in 1990. He then completed 3 postdoctoral fellowships with the final one in auditory neurosciences at the University of Maryland where he then joined the faculty in 2000. He has expertise in a broad range of auditory neuroscience, with emphasis on the neural foundations of speech processing and perception, especially in the case of degraded or masked speech. His main approach is to use magnetoencephalography as a neurophysiological tool in human subjects. Furthermore, aging and its profound effects on speech processing by the brain have recently become a major focus of his research. As PI of an NIA P01 project and core (P01 “Neuroplasticity in Auditory Aging”, PI Sandra Gordon-Salant), every member of his lab’s research touches on some on the aspect of auditory aging. Dr. Simon also has a strong record of undergraduate mentoring, having been a research advisor for 32 undergraduates, of which 15 were members of summer research programs (e.g., NSF REU). Two of these students later returned to his lab as graduate trainees. Six of his trainees have been underrepresented minorities. Dr. Simon very much looks forward to extending his mentoring expertise to the excellent under-represented minority and disadvantaged undergraduates in UM ADAPT.

Cancer and Aging

Barbara Curbow, PhD
Professor – Department of Behavioral and Community Health

Barbara Curbow is a social psychologist who has spent her career in the Johns Hopkins, Florida, and University of Maryland Schools of Public Health. Her research focuses on cancer prevention and control including tertiary (survivorship), secondary (screening), and primary (tobacco control) prevention – all of which are issues that are highly relevant to an aging American population. Currently, she is studying health disparities across the colorectal cancer continuum from screening through survivorship. Her most recent study is on the influence of health literacy on older patients’ understanding and interpretation of colonoscopy result reports and risk factors. Over her career, she has mentored numerous undergraduate and graduate students, with many being under-represented minorities.

Cher Dallal, PhD
Associate Professor – Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Dr. Cher Dallal her PhD in Epidemiology in 2009 from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, completed postdoctoral training in the NCI/NIH Cancer Prevention Fellowship Program and joined the University of Maryland faculty in 2013. Her research assesses lifestyle and hormonal factors related to breast, endometrial and ovarian carcinogenesis and she has published >20 papers in this area. She also has examined factors related to cancer risk and survivorship in older adults. The larger context for her research is in cancer control and prevention that integrates health disparities research, behavioral factors, biological profiles, and cancer epidemiology, issues which are all critically important for our aging US demographics. She mentors both undergraduate and graduate students and to this point has mentored one UM ADAPT Trainee.

Cheryl Holt, PhD
Professor – Department of Behavioral and Community Health

Dr. Cheryl Holt earned her PhD in 2001 at St. Louis University in applied/experimental psychology. She was on the faculty there and at the University of Alabama before joining the University of Maryland faculty in 2008. Her research involves community-based health communication studies and the role of culture in health cognitions and behaviors. She has directed 7 randomized trials examining cancer communication interventions for older African Americans. All of this research is focused on racial disparities in terms of populations undergoing recommended preventive screening for various cancers, an issue that is clearly critical to optimize the health and longevity of older Americans. Dr. Holt has a long mentoring history at the undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate levels. She has ~100 publications, most including student co-authors. Dr. Holt has worked with UM STAR and ADAPT trainees for 6 yrs and is also a mentor in the Kellogg Foundation/American Academy of Health Behavior program in community-based participatory research.

Sunmin Lee, ScD
Professor – Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Dr. Sunmin Lee her ScD and completed post-doctoral training in Social Epidemiology at the Harvard University School of Public Health. Her primary research interest is social determinants of health. Her expertise includes health disparities, quantitative and qualitative research methods, community- based participatory research, and cancer prevention and survivorship among older Asian Americans. Dr. Lee’s current research includes an NIH-funded randomized controlled trial to increase colorectal cancer screening among Asian Americans aged between 50 and 75. Her recent research has focused on cancer prevention – clearly a critical medical and health issue as the American population ages. She has published 55 papers and has mentored 16 undergraduates, 38 graduate students, and two post-doctoral researchers. She has mentored one UM ADAPT trainee in the early stages of the program.

Alzheimer's Disease

Ricardo Araneda, PhD
Associate Professor – Department of Biology

Dr. Ricardo Araneda received his PhD in neuroscience from Albert Einstein University in 1997 and then completed postdoctoral training at Columbia University. He has been on the University of Maryland faculty since 2006. The focus of his research is on understanding how neuromodulatory transmitters regulate neuronal activity in the brain, using the olfactory system as a model. ​In humans, olfactory dysfunction is an early symptom in aging and in several neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer’s Disease. Therefore, his studies in olfaction that are funded by an NIA RO1 provide important information on fundamental principles that govern sensory processing under physiological conditions in the aging brain and that could lead to an early biomarker to assess the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease. In addition, Dr. Araneda has a strong commitment to excellence in the teaching, mentoring and training of younger scientists, in particular, under-represented groups in science fields. Over 10 graduate students and 50 undergraduate students have received or are currently receiving training in his lab.

J. Carson Smith, PhD
Associate Professor – Department of Kinesiology

Dr. J. Carson Smith earned his PhD in 2000 in exercise science from the University of Georgia and completed postdoctoral training at the University of Florida in psychophysiology/affective neuroscience. He joined the UM faculty in 2011 and has >40 publications. His lab studies the efficacy of physical activity in improving metabolic health and brain function and structure, as measured by MRI, in older adults at increased risk for Alzheimer's Disease. He has studied the effects of exercise on cerebral blood flow using arterial spin labeling and brain activation using functional MRI. Recently Dr. Smith had an RO1 funded by NIA to assess the impact of exercise training on cerebral blood flow, MRI biomarkers, and episodic memory performance in older cognitively intact APOE-4 allele carriers. Dr. Smith has mentored a number of graduate and undergraduate students, among them, five UM STAR and 2 UM ADAPT trainees. Dr. Smith was also previously the Director of the Kinesiology Undergraduate Honors Program for the last 5 yearsrs providing further evidence of his dedication to mentoring undergraduate students.

Health Policy and Management and Aging

Eva DuGoff, PhD
Assistant Professor – Department of Health Policy and Management

Dr. Eva DuGoff earned her health services research PhD at the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health. She was on the faculty at the University of Wisconsin before joining the University of Maryland faculty in 2017. She has 20 manuscripts focusing on quality of care and health care delivery in older adults living with multimorbidities. Her research assesses the quality of care delivered to high-needs older adults in the Medicare Advantage program, and how to improve health outcomes among older adults with multiple morbidities. She has mentored a number of undergraduate and graduate students, and co-authored publications with graduate students.

Luisa Franzini, PhD
Professor – Chair, Department of Health Policy and Management – Director, Center on Aging

Dr. Luisa Franzini received her PhD in Econometrics from the London School of Economics and joined the University of Maryland faculty in 2014. She has >100 publications and has been funded by NIH and HRSA. She is funded to develop a model for health care delivery for the elderly in rural Maryland. She focuses on medical spending variations in the commercial sector, Medicare, and Medicaid; innovation in financial incentives in health care; and social determinants of health disparities. Virtually all of her research over the entire course of her career has directly addressed aging or aging-related health issues. Trainees could participate in data analyses of claims and other health care data. She has mentored >35 doctoral and masters students with many being under-represented minorities.

Lori Simon-Rusinowitz, PhD
Associate Professor – Health Policy and Management

Dr. Lori Simon-Rusinowitz earned her PhD in Health Policy at the University of Illinois Chicago and an MPH from the University of Michigan. She was previously at the George Washington University National Health Policy Forum and The Gerontological Society of America. She studies aging and disability policy issues. She has led numerous policy implementation studies on topics such as a policy option to hire family caregivers, consumer-directed services for older consumers and caregivers, and training representatives for consumers with dementia. She has mentored 4 PhD and ~12 MPH, students.

Additional Aging Research Mentors

Cynthia Baur, PhD
Professor, Director, Maryland Center for Health Literacy

Dr. Cynthia Baur completed her PhD in Communication at the University of
California, San Diego. She joined the University of Maryland faculty in 2017 as the Endowed Chair and Director of the Horowitz Center for Health Literacy. She previously spent 17+ yrs in senior US Department of Health and Human Services and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention positions and led the National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy and the Healthy People health communication objectives. Her research focuses on how people find, understand, and use health information, which is of special relevance to older Americans. She has mentored junior staff at DHHS and CDC and undergraduate and graduate students since arriving at the University of Maryland.

James Butler III, DrPH
Associate Professor – Department of Behavioral and Community Health

Dr. James Butler earned his DrPH in health services administration in 1999 at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. He completed postdoctoral training at the University of Kansas School of Medicine in cancer prevention and tobacco control. He was at the University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health faculty before joining the University of Maryland faculty in 2010. He has published >25 manuscripts. His research uses an ecological framework that incorporates individual, social structure, and environmental influences to understand and eliminate tobacco-related health disparities across a spectrum of mostly preventable conditions and diseases, especially in older African Americans. As an African American, he is dedicated to building strong relationships with communities to design and conduct interventions. He has mentored 20 undergraduate and graduate students in health disparities to this point in his career.

Kan Cao PhD 
Associate Professor – Department of Cell and Molecular Biology

Dr. Kan Cao received her PhD in Biology from Johns Hopkins University in 2005 and then completed postdoctoral training in genomics at NIH with Francis Collins. Dr. Cao was named a New Scholar in Aging by the Ellison Medical Foundation in 2011. She studies molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying Hutchinson Gilford progeria syndrome (HGPS), a rare premature aging disease, and the normal human aging process. Approximately 90% of HGPS cases are caused by a de novo mutation in the lamin A gene. However, the molecular mechanisms of lamin A’s function still remain unclear. To investigate this question, her laboratory applies a suite of techniques from cell biology, stem cell biology, to genomics. Her current collaborators include Drs. Francis Collins (NIH/NHGRI) and Richard Hodes (NIH/NIA). Although her NIH funding is through NHLBI, her research is clearly focused on aging and aging-related issues. She also previously had K00 and R21 funding through NIA. Dr. Cao has a long history of mentoring, serving as an advisor for 8 PhD students, 5 postdoctoral fellows, and ten undergraduate students.

Sandra Crouse Quinn, PhD 
Professor, Chair – Department of Family Sciences, Associate Director, Center for Health Equity

Dr. Sandra Crouse Quinn completed her health education PhD at the University of Maryland and was then on the faculty at the University of North Carolina and the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health until she joined the University of Maryland faculty in 2010. She has >70 publications. She was PI for the UM Center of Excellence in Race, Ethnicity and Health Disparities Research, a 5-year study addressing cultural beliefs behind vaccine racial disparities, and a prestigious Grand Opportunity grant from the NIH Office of the Director titled “Bioethics Research Infrastructure Initiative: Building Trust between Minorities and Researchers”. Both of these issues are critical to our understanding of the health disparities associated with aging in the US. She is a co-investigator on the National Research Mentoring Network and has mentored junior faculty, post-doctoral fellows, and undergraduate, masters, and doctoral students, including numerous under-represented minorities.

Typhanye Dyer, PhD
Assistant Professor – Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Typhanye Dyer earned her PhD in Public Health from the UCLA School of Public Health and completed postdoctoral training at Johns Hopkins University. Her work focuses on syndemics and risk for HIV and STI among sexual minority men. Her most recent grant explores the stigma and engagement in medical care for older black women living with HIV. As people are aging with HIV, this study will also examine care for aging-related comorbid conditions. Dr. Dyer has mentored several masters students, has mentored and published with several doctoral students, and has mentored several McNair Scholars at the University of Maryland

Craig Fryer, DrPH
Associate Professor – Department of Behavioral and Community Health, Associate Director - Center for Health Equity

Dr. Craig Fryer earned his DrPH in 2006 in sociomedical sciences from Columbia University School of Public Health. He was on the University of Pittsburgh faculty before joining the University of Maryland faculty in 2010. He has 30 publications and uses mixed methods designs to examine the sociocultural context of health and health disparities, with expertise in racial/ethnic minority populations. His two main research interests of tobacco cessation programs and the recruitment of minority individuals to research trials directly focus on aging and older populations, thus providing an excellent platform for mentoring ADAPT trainees. He has mentored post-doctoral fellows, served on numerous dissertation committees, chaired graduate student theses, and has mentored both undergraduate and graduate students.

Kerry Green, PhD
Associate Professor – Department of Behavioral and Community Health

Kerry Green received her PhD from Johns Hopkins University in Behavioral and Social Sciences in 2004. She then completed postdoctoral training at Johns Hopkins before joining the University of Maryland faculty in 2007. Dr. Green is NIH-funded to study the risk and protective factors over the life course, as well as the interrelationship of substance use and mental health. Just recently she had an NIA RO1 funded to continue a developmental epidemiological study that focuses on life course pathways to successful aging in a large community cohort of urban Blacks first studied at age 6 and who will now undergo a fifth round of data collection at age 60 to examine individual and contextual life course trajectories affecting the aging experience and successful aging. She has published 50 peer-reviewed articles, is dedicated to reducing health disparities among underrepresented minorities, and has mentored numerous students from under-represented minority groups.

William Jeffery, PhD
Professor – Department of Biology

William Jeffery received his zoology PhD in 1971 from the University of Iowa and then completed postdoctoral training at Tufts University and the University of Wisconsin. He was on the faculties at Houston, Texas, California-Davis, and Penn State before joining the University of Maryland faculty in 1999. Dr. Jeffery was trained in molecular developmental biology and genetics and has continued research on this and related topics throughout his career. He has had continuous research funding from NIH and/or NSF throughout his career and has published 230 articles. He began work on tunicates in the 1970s and since then has used them as model organisms to study various developmental issues. However, based on NIA RO1 funding he recently opened a new line of research relative to the adults of this species, which have amazing regenerative abilities, as a model for studying the loss of regenerative capacity during aging. Dr. Jeffery is also affiliated with the Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, which furthers his research on aging in marine animals. He has supervised ~60 undergraduates, 14 graduate students, and ~30 post-doctoral scientists over the course of his career.

Ross Miller, PhD
Associate Professor – Department of Kinesiology

Dr. Ross Miller received his PhD in kinesiology from the University of Massachusetts and joined the University of Maryland faculty in 2012. He has 36 publications and is funded by the Department of Defense. His research addresses the effects of musculoskeletal loading during exercise and activities of daily living on health and chronic diseases such as osteoarthritis. In addition to osteoarthritis, a disease highly prevalent in older populations, he also studies the role of mechanical loading from exercise in maintaining mobility in older adults.  For example, he is determining if the characteristic mechanics of “older adult” gait are an inevitable consequence of healthy aging, or if they are due to a decline in physical activity with aging. Trainees can assist with biomechanics data collection and data processing, depending on their background and technical skills. He has already mentored a number of undergraduate and graduate students in his lab, including 5 UM ADAPT and STAR Trainees in the last 4 years.

Robin Puett, PhD 
Associate Professor – Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental
Health

Dr. Robin Puett received her PhD in epidemiology and environmental health from the University of South Carolina in 2004. She was on the faculty there before joining the University of Maryland faculty in 2011. She has 45 publications based on the use of spatial epidemiology, statistics, environmental epidemiology, and exposure assessment in environmental health. She has several publications on aging cohorts, including the Nurse’s Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study with outcomes focused on CV and pulmonary issues that are especially associated with older age. She has supervised numerous masters and PhD students and has mentored junior faculty on diversity supplements and NIH K submissions, with many of these mentees being under-represented minority individuals.

Stephen Thomas, PhD
Professor – Department of Health Policy and Management, Director - Center for Health Equity

Dr. Stephen Thomas earned his PhD in health education from Southern Illinois University in 1985. He joined the University of Maryland faculty in 2010, has published 60 articles, directs the NIMHD-sponsored Research Center of Excellence on Minority Health Disparities and is PI with Dr. Quinn on the National Bioethics Research Infrastructure Initiative, Building Trust Between Minorities and Researchers. His research translates clinical trials into community-based interventions for minority populations, investigates psychosocial factors associated with racial differences in willingness to participate in research, and designs culturally-tailored disease prevention outreach strategies to engage minority populations in community settings. Virtually all of the medical outcomes he has studied have critical relevance to aging. He has mentored ~20 graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and junior faculty in his career.