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Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center

Established in 1991, the UCLA Claude Pepper Older Americans Independence Center (OAIC) is designed to maintain and restore the independence of older persons. The UCLA Center's theme, "Preventing Disease and Disability in Vulnerable Populations: a Translational Approach" emphasizes research that extends across the full spectrum from T1 to T2 translational research. Within this theme, an important focus of the UCLA OAIC is on developing and understanding interventions that reduce inflammation.

We define basic sciences broadly, recognizing that biologic sciences (e.g., molecular biology and immunology), physical sciences (e.g., biomechanics), and social sciences (e.g., cost-effective analysis, behavioral theory) are all fundamentals upon which clinical interventions are derived and evaluated.

In the UCLA OAIC paradigm, basic biomedical research informs clinical research and clinical research informs basic biomedical research. Accordingly, the UCLA OAIC supports research that links these two types of research in both directions by 1) examining mechanisms underlying successful clinical interventions and 2) developing new basic science approaches that will lead to clinical interventions. In addition to this emphasis on T1 research, the UCLA OAIC has expanded its strategy and reach to include the second stage of translational research, T2. T2 research brings new knowledge into clinical practice and decision-making.

The Center stimulates scientific discovery through 4 Research Cores (Recruitment and Retention, Research Operations, Analysis and Cost-effectiveness, and Inflammatory Biology), a Pilot and Exploratory Studies Core, a Research Career Development Core, and a Leadership/Administrative Core. Research Cores provide 4 levels of support (consultation, short-term, ongoing, and partnership on new projects) for external projects and internal OAIC activities.

The purpose of the Pilot and Exploratory Studies Core is to promote innovative basic and clinical research, conducted by collaborating teams of junior and senior investigators through pilots and exploratory studies that fall within the UCLA OAIC's research theme.

The goal of the Research Career Development Core is to train junior faculty members to become future academic leaders in translational basic, clinical and health services research directed toward improving the independence of older persons. A related goal is to attract new faculty from various disciplines into aging research. The Career Development Award (CDA) program provides integrated training in translational mechanistic and outcomes research, and promotes faculty career development. CDA funding generally starts July 1 and requests for applications are announced in the fall.

Funding Opportunities

Pilot and Exploratory Studies Core
Core director: Gail A. Greendale, MD

Rapid Grants Program provides funding for:

  • Small aging-related basic, clinical and health services research projects responsive to the UCLA OAIC research theme
  • Award size will range from $1,000 to $10,000, dependent on scope of work
  • The Principal Investigator (PI) must be either a UCLA junior faculty member or advanced trainee or if a senior faculty member, the work must represent a new geriatrics focus to that investigators work
  • A "rolling applications process" with rapid turnaround (1 week to 1 month) is used. Funds must be expended by end of fiscal year in which they were awarded

Research Career Development Core
Core director: Alison A. Moore, MD, MPH
Core co-director: Theodore J. Hahn, MD

Mentored Career Development Awards:

  • $50K per year for up to 3 years
  • Individualized training programs
  • Requires mentors match of $25K for a total $75K award

Research Cores

  • Recruitment and Retention
  • Research Operations
  • Analysis and Cost-effectiveness
  • Inflammatory Biology

Support provided by all Research Cores:

  • Consulting (e.g., few hours of advice, reading a paper or proposal)
  • Ongoing or long term partnership (e.g., purchase services)
  • Partnership on new proposals
  • Research Services Funding for the use of services from OAIC Research Resource Cores
  • (contact Resource Core Director for information)

Services Provided by the Research Cores

Recruitment and Retention Core (RRC)
Core director: Catherine A. Sarkisian, MD, MS

Services Provided:

  • Identification of potential recruitment sites
  • Review and modification of recruitment and retention plans for minority groups
  • Introductions to specific community service/advocacy organizations
  • Assistance with enrollment and retention in specific studies
  • Access to Community Action Board of leaders in aging services network

Research Operations Core (ROC)
Core director: Teresa E. Seeman, PhD
Core co-director: Heather McCreath, PhD

Services Provided:

  • Data collection support
  • Data management services
  • Use of web and Access based applications for data management and tracking
  • Proposal preparation
  • Develop, review, and maintain data security procedures

Analysis and Cost-Effectiveness Core (ACEC)
Core director: Arun Karlamangla, MD, PhD

Services Provided:

  • Analytical Support in Study Design (selection of analytic strategy and sample size/power issues)
  • Interpretation and Accurate Description of Findings
  • Analysis support by an OAIC data analyst with masters or PhD level training to projects of junior researchers doing aging research

Inflammatory Biology Core (IBC)
Core director: Michael Irwin, MD, PhD
Core co-director: Elizabeth Breen, PhD

Services Provided:

  • Sample collection
  • Measures of plasma/serum immune and/or inflammatory markers
  • Cellular protein markers
  • Molecular assays of cytokine production
  • Consultation for referral to UCLA microarray core for genomic assessments of inflammatory activity and its cellular impact
  • Telomere length and telomerase assays

UCLA OAIC General Questions