The primary goal of the Aging, Health and Neuroscience (AHN) cluster is to foster interdisciplinary research excellence to generate high-quality scholarship that bears on issues essential to the health and well-being of the population. The cluster includes more than 65 faculty members from eight of Syracuse University’s schools and colleges.
At the core of the collective interests of the cluster members is a desire to enable long and healthy lives. These issues form the essential mission of the National Institute of Health: “To seek fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems and the application of that knowledge to enhance health, lengthen life and reduce illness and disability.” The AHN cluster takes a biopsychosocial approach that capitalizes on three pillars of strength on campus: the Aging Studies Institute, (behavioral) health research and the Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Group.
The AHN cluster expands the reach of these areas by building bridges in the following ways:
- facilitate the development of excellent and fundable research programs across areas of established strength at Syracuse University (e.g., gerontology, neuroscience, behavioral health) and develop niche areas (e.g., population health, sports and health, cancer);
- foster synergistic, multidisciplinary approaches to science as a stepping stone to the successful securing of NIH funding, including interdisciplinary training and center grants;
- encourage Syracuse University research center and institute development: and
- enhance the student experience across multiple schools and colleges in various disciplines, as well as interdisciplinary programs such as the Undergraduate Minor in Gerontology, Graduate Certificate of Population Health and Aging, Neuroscience Integrated Learning Major and the Interdisciplinary Graduate Neuroscience Concentration.
In 2020, the Aging, Health and Neuroscience Cluster collaborated with Cornell University and the University of Albany to expand the Center for Aging and Policy Studies (CAPS) on a consortium model. The center received a P30 grant from the National Institute on Aging (NIA), as part of the NIA’s prestigious Demography and Economics of Aging Program. Since July, 2020, the AHN cluster has funded four pilot projects, submitted a NIH supplement that, if awarded, will support additional pilot projects, established a regular seminar series, created the CAPS website, created CAPS social media accounts on Twitter and Facebook, scheduled two methodology workshops, launched a research brief series in collaboration with the Lerner Center for Health Promotion, held an annual conference with a keynote by a (virtual) visiting scholar, promoted AHN's research teaming program, issued a call for two-year pilot projects and distributed a call for applications for a summer grant writer’s workshop for CAPS affiliates.
Nineteen Aging, Health and Neuroscience faculty members served as principal investigators on 28 different National Institutes of Health Awards, totaling more than $6.9 million. Other notable grants include:
- Shannon Monnat, principal investigator, “The New York Opioid Court Treatment Enhancement Project,” National Institute of Justice, 2019-2022.
- Brooks Gump and Kevin Heffernan, co-investigators, NSF Research Education for Undergraduates (REU) program “Training Veterans to Conduct Trauma Research with Fellow Veterans.”
- Colleen Heflin and Madonna Harrington Meyer, principal investigator, “Hunger SNAPs: Food Insecurity among Older Adults,” Russell Sage Foundation.
- Natalie Russo and Beth Prieve, co-principal investigators, “Subcortical and cortical potentials in preterm infants: Towards Development of Biomarkers for autism, hearing loss and language delay,” Gerber Foundation.
Janet Wilmoth - Cluster lead, Aging lead
Sandra Hewett - Neuroscience lead
Aesoon Park - Behavioral Health lead
Natalie Russo - Neuroscience co-Lead
Shannon Monnat - Population Heath lead
Brooks Gump - Sport and Health lead
Katherine McDonald - Sport and Health co-lead
Melissa Pepling - Cancer lead