The National Institutes on Aging (NIA), The National Cancer Institute (NCI), and The Comprehensive Center for Healthy Aging (CCHA)

Several ongoing interdisciplinary research projects are taking place within the Division of Gerontology, Geriatric Medicine, and Palliative Care related to the nutrition and dietary behavior of older adults. These are led by Julie Locher, PhD, MSPH.

In 2012, with support from the NIA, The Program in Translational Nutrition and Aging Research was established. This program is at the intersection of three broad areas of inquiry: 1) aging, 2) nutrition, and 3) health services research. Specific Aims are to: 1) provide leadership, core faculty, and resources that support innovative, integrated, interdisciplinary, clinical, behavioral, and policy-related collaborations focused on translational nutrition and aging research; 2) provide high quality educational experiences related to translational nutrition and aging research for pre-doctoral trainees, post-doctoral fellows, junior and transitional faculty, and community stakeholders, including policy makers and the geriatric workforce; and 3) identify gaps in the current evidence base, address methodological issues, and set priorities for translational nutrition and aging research.

Specific research studies with a nutrition focus include:

Calorie Restriction & Body Composition, Function, & QoL in Older Adults (supported by NIA, PI: J Locher and J Ard): The purpose of this randomized clinical trial is to compare the effects of changes in diet composition alone or combined with weight loss with an exercise only control intervention on body composition, disease risk function, and quality of life in obese older adults.

Food and Eating Behaviors of Head and Neck Cancer Patients (supported by NCI, PI: J Locher and WR Carroll): The overall goal of the proposed study is to contribute to the evidence on which the nutritional management of patients undergoing treatment for head and neck cancer (HNC) can be based by carefully studying what patients and their caregivers are actually doing in terms of food and eating behaviors.

Opportunities for Faculty Involvement:
Faculty, postdoctoral, and predoctoral students are encouraged to participate in research projects related to nutrition and dietary behaviors through collaborations with Dr. Locher.

Contact Person and Leader:

Julie L. Locher, PhD, MSPH
Professor of Medicine
Division of Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine
Department of Medicine
1530 3rd Avenue South
CH19-Room 218F
Birmingham, Alabama 35294-2041
(tel) (205) 934-7542