Research at the Andrus Gerontology Center

Founded in 1964, The USC Ethel Percy Andrus Gerontology Center is the first major research institution in the nation devoted entirely to the study of aging.  Interdisciplinary investigations in neurobiology, molecular biology, cognitive psychology, biodemography, family studies, long term care and other topics encompass the breadth of ongoing research at the Center.

The primary research goal of faculty is to shed new light on the multiple processes of aging and to better understand the implications of these processes for individuals, families, organizations and society.  Their investigations generate knowledge – describing, comparing and predicting the progression of normal and pathological human development.  A second objective is to bridge the gap between theory and practice through programs of continuing education, policy-related research and community service.

The Andrus Center has a proud history of research in gerontology as it relates to the disciplines of neurology, social and behavioral sciences and policy and services.  Within each field, faculty members develop grant proposals and coordinate research.  Studies are conducted in laboratories within the Center, throughout local communities and on a national level. 

The Andrus Center hosts the sponsored research centers and major research projects listed below:

Biogerontology

Biogerontology is considered by many scientists to be the most important frontier in aging research. In the Center's Biogerontology Laboratories, research is being conducted on the changes that occur in the brain during the aging process, as well as the causes of age-related neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.

The Alzheimer's Disease Research Center (ADRC) - The USC Alzheimer's Disease Research Center (ADRC) focuses on reducing the cognitive and behavioral impact of Alzheimer's disease and cerebrovascular dementia among ethnically diverse populations.

USC Biology of Aging Program (BAP) - The USC Davis School of Gerontology along with various departments at USC offers undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral training programs in the Biology of Aging that combine biomedical research focused on aging with courses in biogerontology, molecular and computational biology, biochemistry, genetics, cell biology, and neurobiology. The USC Biology of Aging Program faculty is one of the largest in the country and includes internationally recognized scientists studying the fundamental mechanisms of aging as well as diseases including Alzheimer, Parkinson, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, Werner and Bloom syndromes. The understanding and treatment of diseases is approached both traditionally and by novel evolutionary approaches aimed at identifying genes and molecular pathways that can be modulated to prevent diseases. Fellowships from two NIH training grants are available to students and postdoctoral fellows accepted by laboratories in the MBAP.

Biodemography

USC/UCLA Center on Biodemography and Population Health (CBPH) - This center is directed by Eileen Crimmins at USC, with Caleb Finch as co-director. At UCLA the Center is directed by Teresa Seeman and co-directed by David Reuben. This Center is a unique collaboration between demographers and biologists at USC and epidemiologists and geriatricians at UCLA. The purpose of the Center is to integrate medical, biological, and epidemiological information to model and predict population health trends. The Center will provides pilot project money for relevant research and promotes a series of seminars and workshops on the two campuses.

Policy and Services Research

Policy and Services programs at the Andrus Center conduct applied research and carry out projects intended to influence national, state, and local policy and program development which will improve the quality of life of older persons.

California Center for Long Term Care Integration - The California Center for Long Term Care Integration is a collaboration between USC and UCLA to help counties in California improve long-term care. The Center's mission focuses on providing counties with information to help them build integrated delivery systems that are high quality, consumer driven, and cost effective.

Fall Prevention Center of Excellence (FPCE) - Falls are now the No. 1 cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries for seniors over age 65. In California alone, over 1 million people 65 or older fall each year; more than 100,000 suffer a serious injury or fatality.Our vision is to create a Center of excellence to ensure the independence, safety, and well being of older persons through fall prevention. Our mission is to provide leadership, create new knowledge, and develop sustainable programs for seniors and their families, professionals, program administrators, and policy makers.

Social and Behavioral Sciences

The Andrus Center has a long-standing reputation of research in the sociology and psychology of aging. Research programs here at Andrus reflect the world's growing concern about retirement, the quality of life for the increasing number of older persons, cognitive change and aging, and age-related memory impairment.

Long Beach Longitudinal Study (LBLS) - The Long Beach Longitudinal Study of Memory, Cognition, and Aging (LBLS) seeks to study change and the predictors of change in cognitive processes across the adult lifespan, from ages 30 through the end of life. The study was initiated in 1978 by Dr. Warner Schaie and is currently in its 26th year of investigation under the direction of Dr. Elizabeth Zelinski. Today, there are two active panels of participants, one initiated in 1994 and the other recruited in 2000. During its 26-year history more than 2000 individuals have been tested and with more than 1000 people active participants remaining. Testing is repeated at three-year intervals, such that the 1994 panel is now in their 4th wave of testing and the 2000 panel is in their 2nd wave of testing. Testing is extensive and includes measures of memory, working memory, inductive reasoning, autobiographical memory, implicit memory, tip-of-the-tongue, perceptual speed, and verbal learning. In addition, extensive questionnaires are administered including health status, depression, personal activities, self-assessed memory performance, and personality.

Longitudinal Study of Generations - This study focuses on collecting data on the dynamics of change and continuity as families change. The study focuses on the effects of elder-caregiving, the role of family elders across generations, and intergenerational equity. Other research programs in the division reflect American's growing concerns about retirement, the quality of life for the increasing number of older persons, cognitive change and aging, and age-related memory impairment.

Individual Faculty Projects and Publications

Our active faculty are involved in current research accross the field of aging. Please view their faculty profiles for up to date information.

 
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