Reflections from the Summer Institute on Aging Research

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Summer Institute panelThis year marked the 26th anniversary of NIA’s Summer Institute on Aging Research. Since its inception in 1987, the Summer Institute has evolved and grown, much like the field of aging. The mission, though, has remained the same: to cultivate the next generation of researchers in aging. The Summer Institute provides early and mid-career scientists with the unique opportunity to interact with leaders in the field of aging and learn from them how to design strong projects and put together competitive grant applications. But this training program does more—it gives participants a chance to talk about some of the challenges associated with being a professional scientist, for example, sharing tips for finding work-life balance. The advice and career guidance Summer Institute participants receive is personalized, based on their specific research interests and needs. The contacts participants make with NIA senior staff, NIA grantees, and their peers last long after they return home. In the end, Summer Institute participants leave the week-long training program equipped with additional skills—and confidence—to be successful members of the scientific community.

Summer Institute participants

Each fall, a group of Summer Institute participants share their experience with the Links readership. This year, embracing our new online format, these interviews were videotaped. Click on the images below to hear what six participants had to say about the Summer Institute, their research interests, and more.

Homero E. del Pino, Ph.D.

Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, Los Angeles, CA

Research Interest: HIV and alcohol abuse, dependence, and recovery in aging gay men; interest in how family relationships and social networks contribute to healthy aging for people with HIV or in recovery for alcoholism



Linda S. Edelman, Ph.D., R.N.

University of Utah College of Nursing, Salt Lake City, UT

Research Interest: Individual, system, and geographic factors impacting access to trauma care for rural older adults, perceptions of injury risks for rural older adults



Nneka L. Ifejika-Jones, M.D.

University of Texas at Houston Medical School, Departments of Neurology and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Houston, TX

Research Interest: The provision of evidence-based rehabilitation decision making for aging patients with cerebrovascular disease



Agnes Susabda, Ph.D.

Stanford/VA Palo Alto Aging Clinical Research Center, Palo Alto, CA

Research Interest: Stress and trauma; memory/learning; emotion, addictive behaviors and craving



David van Duin, M.D., Ph.D.

Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH

Research Interest: Immunology of aging



Julie A. Womack, C.N.M., A.P.R.N., Ph.D.

Yale University, Yale School of Nursing, New Haven, CT

Research Interest: HIV and aging—fragility fractures and falls among HIV infected compared with uninfected individuals; geriatric syndromes among HIV infected individuals; women's health—contraception, aging with HIV