$1.9M NIH NIA GRANT AWARDED ON ADVANCING AGING RESEARCH & EDUCATION

NIH National Institute on AgingThe purpose of our new NIH National Institute on Aging Medical, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, NIA MSTEM, project (Advancing Diversity in Aging Research through Undergraduate Education at the University of the District of Columbia) is to address the needs of a rapidly growing aging population by engaging, training, and equipping a diverse body of students at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) to be able to conduct research and solve issues tied to aging. 

Of significant societal relevance, is our long-term goal to increase the number of underrepresented minority professionals aimed at solving problems tied to aging via research investigations (studies) and interventions (designs and devices). It is projected that the number of individuals older than 50 years of age will increase to 1.2 billion by 2025 worldwide, however, aging-related research training is nascent at the undergraduate levels & diversity is limited.

The objectives of this project are to create and foster aging-related: 1) research experiences (tied to falls, imaging, and data analytics); 2) new and unique curricular experiences tied to freshman and senior design projects, practicum & seminars, and professional student club activities; and 3) professional development via mentorship, dissemination and outreach for the underrepresented minority undergraduate student demographic at UDC. We aim to produce a diverse cadre of professionals that are well-equipped to solve issues tied to aging. This project is distinct, yet dovetails nicely with, previous and current sponsored research activities at UDC focused on undergraduate aging-related (balance) research and Biomedical Engineering education. NIH NIA MSTEM grant totals $1.9M and complements our current $1.57M projected Department of Aging and Community Living (DACL), entitled Facilitating Aging individuals’ Living and Learning preventative fall Strategies (FALLS) project and prior National Science Foundation (NSF) sponsored research work, Research Initiation Award: Investigating a new Generation of Assistive, Innovative Technologies (GAIT) for balance rehabilitation.

On the NIH NIA MSTEM project, Dr. Lara Thompson is the Principal Investigator and Dr. Nian Zhang and Dr. Max Denis are Senior/Key Personnel.