The UAB Comprehensive Center for Healthy Aging is known for outstanding research related to optimizing function of older adults, particularly in the area of mobility, cognition, and continence. Dr. Karlene Ball and Dr. Cynthia Owsley have developed assessments and interventions for helping older persons process information more quickly and thereby potentially slow memory loss and maintain day-to-day function, including driving ability.

Dr. Edward Taub has been a pioneer in the development of new rehabilitation interventions to help older adults regain function after stroke, while Dr. Marcas Bamman and Dr. Gary Hunter are defining specific exercise programs needed to enable older adults to retain function. Drs. Kathryn Burgio, Patricia Goode, and Holly Richter have defined optimal behavioral, drug, and surgical procedures to enable older adults to maintain continence and independent functioning.

UAB currently has five extramurally funded center programs that support such aging-related research:

  1. a VA-based Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center (GRECC)
  2. the Hartford Foundation-funded Southeast Center of Excellence in Geriatric Medicine
  3. the NIA-funded Roybal Center for Research in Applied Gerontology
  4. the NIA-funded Deep South Resource Center for Minority Aging Research (RCMAR)
  5. the NIA-funded Alzheimer's Disease Research Center
Other centers at UAB are pursuing aging-related research including the Arthritis and Musculosketel Disease Center, Center for Education and Research on Therapeutics for Musculoskeletel Disorders, Center for Metabolic Bone Disease, Center for Palliative Care, Genito-Urinary and Genito-Rectal Disorders Centers.

Other aging-related research is accomplished through programs such as the Atherosclerosis Research Unit (ARU) and other programs: Basic Biology of Aging; Alzheimer’s Disease and Lipoprotein Research; Dementia Care Research; Exercise Research; Heart Failure; Nutrition and Dietary Research; Public Policy and Aging; Social-Behavioral Science; and Mobility Among Older African Americans and Whites (the UAB Study of Aging).

UAB centers and programs are supported by a variety of shared cores and resources that support research initiatives. These include: the Cell Senescence Culture Facility; Data Management and Analysis Core; the Driving Simulator; Exercise Test Laboratory; Intramural Grants Programs; and the Mobility and Exercise Laboratory.

Principal Current Research Focus Areas

  • Clinical Research mobility, muscle loss (sarcopenia), exercise, genito-urinary disorders such as incontinence, end-of-life and advanced illness care, Alzheimer’s disease and other memory disorders, stroke, vision, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, age-related cancers, nutrition, and heart failure.
  • Social & Behavioral studies of interventions to prevent and treat age-related disorders and caregiver stress.
  • Basic biomedical studies of the molecular genetics and cellular biology of aging and age-related diseases, such as atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and osteoporosis.
  • Public policy and health services delivery research on economics of aging, health care quality, long-term care and transportation.
  • Neuroscience Research on aging and memory.