University of Southern California & University of California, Los Angeles

CBPH is a multi-site center located at the Andrus Gerontology Center at USC and the Program in Geriatric Medicine at UCLA. The Center’s primary aim is to provide a synergistic research environment for the integration and translation of research findings from a variety of disciplines to better understand population health. It supports the Biomarker Network, which is dedicated to improving measures of biological risk for late-life health outcomes – measures critical in monitoring population health.

Research Themes
Biology, genetics and demography of aging; Cognitive aging and the demography of dementia; Determinants of health, well-being and longevity; Health trends and disparities

CBPH News & Events

Pilot Projects

  • 2022. Cynthia Kusters, Michael Irwin, Judith Carroll . Treatment of Insomnia using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or Tai Chi Chih and Modification of Metabolomics.

    Although disease morbidity and mortality risk are elevated among those with sleep disturbances, the specific molecular pathways altered by sleep loss, which impact human disease, are poorly defined, and may be particularly magnified in late life. Potential pathways include inflammatory, oxidative stress, metabolic, and (neuro)-endocrinological pathways, each of which modifies biological aging. No research to date has tested whether treatment of insomnia in older adults modifies metabolic profiles. As insomnia is a modifiable behavioral target with established treatment efficacy, whether this treatment also improves metabolic patterns relevant to health would be a valuable addition to our understanding of how poor sleep drives risk. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) is an effective intervention to treat insomnia. Our prior trial demonstrated the effectiveness of Tai Chi Chih as an alternative intervention successful at improving sleep among older adults with insomnia. Moreover, we observed improvements in inflammation among CBT-I participants pointing to biological shifts because of treatment. In the present proposal we extend this work by investigating additional relevant metabolites for health using novel metabolomic approaches. We hypothesize that treatment of insomnia using either CBT-I or TCC will relate to improvements in concentrations of important metabolites relevant to cardiometabolic health and biological aging, namely improved lipid, amino acid, and oxidative stress profiles. We will use existing stored specimens to complete this work, and will use the results to inform future grant applications to support junior investigator, Dr. Kusters.

  • 2022. Miriam Mutambudzi, Maria Brown . Biological Age and Chronic Health Trajectories: Moderation by Perceived Discrimination.

    How biological age may prospectively predict differential classification into trajectories of chronic health conditions (CHCs) associated with greater morbidity and mortality in older adults, and how this association may differ based on experiences of perceived discrimination are still unclear. The objective of the proposed research is to fill this gap using 2014-2020 Health and Retirement Study (HRS) data and biological clock data from the HRS Venous Blood Study. We will construct CHCs trajectories using latent class mixture models and regress these on PhenoAge, an epigenetic clock that measures biological age. We will further examine the moderation effects of perceived discrimination on this association in Black, White and Hispanic participants. Exploring differences in vulnerability to health declines by biological age can enhance our understanding of drivers of accelerated health deterioration that have previously been insufficiently identified or quantified. It will also provide insights into subgroups of adults who, due to accelerated biological aging and exposure to negative social determinants of health, may benefit from access to social and medical resources, particularly in cases where such resources (ex. Medicare) are reserved for those of a certain chronological age. Through this seed funding, we can build a foundation for additional research on biological and social contributors to disparities in adverse health trajectories. Our findings would inform the design of a future NIH R01 application focused on understanding factors contributing to differential health declines among diverse adults of similar chronological age and health profiles.

  • 2022. Theresa Andrasfay . Exploring the Role of Occupational Characteristics as Social Determinants of Epigenetic Aging.

    It is thought that adverse working conditions contribute to premature aging, but it is unclear whether this occurs at the molecular level. The objective of this pilot project is to examine how occupational categorizations and specific occupational exposures are associated with accelerated epigenetic aging, and how they contribute to the earlier aging of disadvantaged social groups. This project will utilize data from the Health and Retirement Study’s 2016 Venous Blood Study, complemented with data from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET), to assess how a set of several physical, psychosocial, and environmental occupational characteristics are associated with epigenetic aging as estimated through five epigenetic clocks. The results from this study will contribute to our understanding of the biological processes through which working conditions influence health and the aging process.

  • 2022. Yusuke Tsugawa . Physician and Health System Factors Associated with Disparities in the Care of Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias.

    Although both physicians and health systems play an important role in determining the quality of care ADRD patients receive, little is known as to how physician and health system factors affect disparities in ADRD care. To address this knowledge gap, we will create a comprehensive, multi-level database that includes detailed information about patients, physicians, and health systems, by linking three large, nationally-representative datasets: (1) Medicare claims data (patient factors), (2) Doximity Physician Database (physician factors), and (3) RAND Health System Database (health system factors). Using this innovative database, we will identify physician and health system factors associated with disparities in ADRD care. This nationally representative dataset containing comprehensive information about patients, physicians, and health systems will advance the field by identifying mutable factors that contribute to disparities in ADRD care and can one day inform policymakers in designing policy interventions (e.g., physician education and training, financial incentives for health systems) that can effectively close these treatment gaps.

  • 2021. Courtney S. Thomas Tobin. Evaluating the Role of Allostatic Load in the Association between Mental and Physical Health among Black and White Adults.

  • 2021. Eric T. Klopack . Epigenetic Signature of Childhood Adversity in Older Adults.

  • 2021. Lauren Schmitz, Teresa Seeman. arly Life Adversity Associations with Later Life Epigenetic Profiles: The Multi- Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA).

  • 2021. Leandro Siqueira Carvalho . Poverty and Epigenetic Aging.

  • 2021. Marco Angrisani . The Online Memory Training Study in a Population Representative Panel .

  • 2020. Gregory Miller. Pro-inflammatory Gene Pathways Mediating SES Disparities in Population Health across Adult Development.

  • 2020. Jennifer Ailshire. Exposure to Neurotoxins, DNA Methylation, Inflammatory Mechanisms, and Cognitive Aging.

  • 2019. Andrew J. Fuligni. Family Stress and Inflammation-Related Gene Expression in Parent-Adolescent Dyads.

  • 2019. Elizabeth Zelinski. Understanding the role of subjective cognitive decline in determining risk of cognitive impairment cognitive impairment.

  • 2019. Jinkook Lee. Age, Literacy, and Magnetic Resonance Markers of Brain Integrity in LASI-DAD.

  • 2019. Kelly E. Rentscher. Chronic Stress and Accelerated Biological Aging: Social Support as a Protective Factor.

  • 2018. Catalina Zavala. Teasing Apart the Basis for Genetic and Environmental Associations Between Resources in Adolescence, Educational Attainment, and Occupational Complexity in Adulthood.

  • 2018. Kelly E. Rentscher. Stress and Aging Biology: Couples' Relationship Quality as a Protective Factor.

  • 2018. Kia Skrine Jeffers. Unfair Treatment within Employment, Criminal Justice, Education and Housing and Cardiometabolic Risk in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA).

  • 2018. Thalida E. Arpawong. Characterizing the dynamic relationship between cardiovascular disease risk factors and cognitive ability over time.

  • 2017. Kelvin Yen. Modulation of cognitive decline by genetic variation in the mitochondrial humanin gene.

  • 2017. Margie Lachman. Physiological dysregulation as a predictor of cognitive decline.

  • 2017. Rebecca Melrose; Suzie El-Saden; David Sultzer. Neural markers of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in dementia: A VA medical chart review study.

  • 2017. Thalida E. Arpawong. Processing speed in aging: Mechanisms for ability and change related to genes and sex.

  • 2016. Arie Kapteyn. Devices to measure multiple physiological parameters in survey populations.

  • 2016. Deena Goldwater. Evaluating allostatic load as a predictor or cardiovascular disease risk relative to the ACC/AHA pooled cohort risk equation: Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA).

  • 2016. Emma Aguila. Measuring the Effects of an Experimental Social Security Program for Poor Older Adults using Biomarkers Data.

  • 2016. Hiram Beltran-Sanchez. Estimating the Impact of Obesity on Adult Mortality: Assessment of Errors with Applications to the U.S., Costa Rica, Mexico and Puerto Rico.

  • 2015. Arun S Karlamangla. System dynamics in aging physiological systems: Implications of burnout, reactivity, and recovery.

  • 2015. Carol Prescott, Tara Gruenewald, Margaret Gatz & Jack McArdle. Development and Validation of Self-Administered Tablet Computer Cognitive Assessment.

  • 2015. David S. Black. Gene Transcription Profiling of Fatigue in Hispanic Colorectal Cancer Survivors: Targeting Residual Symptoms after Completion of Cancer Treatment in and Aging Probability Sample.

  • 2015. Patrick Heuveline. Launching a New Study of the Long-Term Health and Wellbeing Consequences of Malnutrition: A Feasibility Study and Rapid Assessment.

  • 2014. Steve Cole & Morgan Levine. Genome-wide Transcriptome Profiling in an HRS Pilot Sample.

  • 2014. Jennifer Ailshire, Sharon Merkin & Brian Finch. Economic Conditions & Social Disparities in Biological Risk among US Adults.

  • 2014. Keyonna King, Pinchas Cohen & Teresa Seeman. Assessing Biological Mechanisms Underlying Psycho-social & Cognitive Benefits of a Multi-Factorial Inter-Generational Intervention for Older Adults .

  • 2014. Peifeng Hu & Jinkook Lee. SES Gradients of Metabolic Syndrome in China and India.

  • 2012. John Strauss. Measuring Cognitive Function in Developing Countries.

  • 2012. Susan Enguidanos. Relationship and Timing of Advance Directives and Stated Care Preference on Frequency and Type of Care Setting Transitions in the Last Six Months of Life.

  • 2011. Thomas McDade. Dried blood spot methods for evaluating the regulation of inflammation.

Center Administrator/Media Contact: Eileen Crimmins