RESEARCH CORES

The Center on Aging supports four research cores that allow us to offer a centralized infrastructure and expertise in aging research.

Dr. Laura Haynes in her office.

Recruitment and Community Outreach

This core coordinates the recruitment of older adults for nearly 100 studies. It maintains a rich database of research volunteers and community contacts. The current database includes over 26,000 names of adults who have expressed interest in receiving information about future research studies or were obtained from the state DMV, DPH licensure list, alumni groups, senior centers, community organizations, and community events. 87% of the adults in our database are 60 years or older. 76% are over 70 years of age. Among those who indicated their race or ethnicity, 13% are black and 10% are hispanic. All mailings and investigator requests for access to our database are subject to approval from the Center on Aging and IRB.

For more information, please contact Lisa Kenyon-Pesce, M.P.H., or George Kuchel, M.D.

Evaluation and Population Assessment

The assessment core conducts surveys and needs assessments related to health, disability, services, and quality of life. We offer expertise in evaluating the effectiveness of public policies and programs involving older adults, families, and providers. Methodologies include cross‐sectional and longitudinal surveys, analysis of administrative, program and linked clinical or financial data, plus focus group and key informant interviews. Services are available to investigators, state or federal agencies, and municipalities. All requests require approval by the Center on Aging and must be conducted under an IRB-approved or IRB-exempt protocol.

Interested investigators may contact Noreen Shugrue, J.D., M.B.A., or Julie Robison, Ph.D.

Clinical Data and Geriatric Outcomes

Our outcomes core assists in the selection, performance, and interpretation of geriatric outcomes and performance measures. It also supports data collection, management, and analysis. Content expertise is available in the selection and interpretation of measures evaluating gait, mobility, affect, cognition, behavior, voiding symptoms, incontinence, body composition, bone density, and self-reported quality of life.

For more information, please contact Alis Ohlheiser, M.S., or Richard Fortinsky, Ph.D. For projects requiring a Ph.D. biostatistician, we are proud to work with Dr. James Grady from UConn’s Biostatistics Center.

Evaluation and Population Assessment

This core assists investigators who wish to add biomarkers to geriatric research studies. It also develops and maintains mouse models needed for pre-clinical testing of interventions targeting specific geriatric conditions. Biomarker capacities include a BioRad Magpix Bioplex system, ELISA readers and through Bruce Watkins, Ph.D. (Professor, Nutrition/Agriculture. Additional analytic capacities are also available in terms of measurement of dietary antioxidants and phytochemicals (e.g., polyphenols and metabolites), lipids, oxidative stress markers, and metalobomics (in collaboration with Metabolon, Inc and Univeristy of California, Davis).

Capacities for pre-clinical studies enable investigators to assess mouse gait and mobility using the DigiGait system (Mouse Specifics, Inc.), Rotarod, Balance Beam, Inclined Plane, Grip Strength, and Vertical Loop devices. A Norland DEXA machine is available to measure mouse body composition and bone density. Extensive additional capacities to evaluate bone are available through the Bone Biology Program, while the Neuroscience Department assists with a full array of behavioral and cognitive tests in its Scoville Neurobehavioral Suite. Finally, capacities for bladder muscle strip and in vivo urodynamic studies including a platform for integrated measurements of bladder pressure, volume, and flow in mice are also available. All requests require an approval from the Center on Aging and have to be conducted under an existing IRB or UConn Health Animal Care Committee protocol.
Interested investigators should contact Sandra Jastrzebski, George Kuchel, M.D., or Laura Haynes, Ph.D.