Scientific environment: The Division of Cognitive & Motor Aging (DCMA) is located at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine (AECOM), a national leader in medical education, basic research, and clinical practice located in Bronx, New York. The faculty of AECOM has a strong record of extramurally funded research activities. In fact, seven Einstein programs have been designated NIH “Centers of Excellence”, including established centers in diabetes, cancer, liver disease, brain research, AIDS, sickle cell disease, and an initiative to reduce and eliminate ethnic and racial health disparities. The Saul R. Korey Department of Neurology at AECOM is the academic home of three collaborative clinical research centers which investigate biological, cognitive, and neuropathological markers that distinguish normal aging from dementia. The Einstein Aging Study (EAS) Program Project (5P01AG003949-23; PI: Lipton) is a longitudinal research study with over 20 years of funding which examines cognitive and neural mechanisms that underlie cognitive decline leading to dementia. The LonGenity study (P01AG027734, PI: Barzilai) investigates genetic basis of longevity in an Ashkenazi Jewish population. Lastly, and of central importance to my proposed project, the Division of Cognitive and Motor Aging (DCMA) (R01AG036921-01A1; PI: Holtzer); CFAR Supplement/HIV aging: Novel markers and interventions for cognitive dysfunction (5P30AI051519-09s; PI: Verghese); as well as 5R01AG025119 (PI: Verghese) & K23AG030857 (PI: Holtzer) seeks to investigate the links between cognitive & motor pathways in an aging population.
The DCMA is directed by Joe Verghese, MBBS, a Professor of Neurology at AECOM and an expert in the field of mobility. Roee Holtzer, Ph.D., Associate Professor at the Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology and the department of Neurology is also affiliated with the DCMA and has specific interests in attention and executive control processes in aging. Jeannette R. Mahoney, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Neurology, has special interests in multisensory integration and aging. The DCMA is strongly committed to fostering aging research within AECOM, developing research careers, and provides a unique opportunity to examine the intersection of cognitive and motor function vis-à-vis aging, dementia and diseases that affect the central nervous system. The DCMA is affiliated with the Geriatric Neurology Clinic directed by Dr. Verghese, and located within a mile of our center. The Geriatric unit provides a central hub for clinical research conducted with older adults as well as teaching of students from all disciplines with an interest in geriatric care.
All three clinical research aging centers maintain strong collaborative relationships with the Institution for Clinical and Translation research, funded by a Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA), which houses a neuroimaging facility as well as sophisticated laboratories for the analysis of biological specimens, and with the Memory Disorders Clinic (directed by Dr. Verghese), which provides an additional venue for clinical research and teaching. Finally, there are also strong collaborative ties with the Geropsychology and Neuropsychology Programs at the Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology at Yeshiva University (Dr. Holtzer), the Cognitive Neurophysiology Laboratory at AECOM (Dr. Foxe), and the Einstein Gruss Magnetic Resonance Research Center (MRRC; Drs. Lipton & Li).
Laboratory: The DCMA is located in the Van Etten Building at AECOM in Bronx, NY. The DCMA suite occupies 4,500 square feet, and includes offices for study personnel; a cognitive neuroscience laboratory; a gait laboratory which houses a twenty-foot GAITRite instrumented walkway that measures quantitative gait variables; a neuroimaging laboratory where functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRs) studies are conducted while participants walk continuously on a second customized instrumented walkway; a MSI laboratory where experimental studies are conducted; and a physical intervention room with exercise and balance equipment. The site also includes multiple testing rooms for interviews and neuropsychological assessments, a conference room with a projector, as well as comfortable waiting rooms and lunchrooms for our participants. Neuroimaging facilities are located close to our center, and offer state of the art imaging procedures including FMRI, DTI, and volumetric MRI.