Research Affairs

The Jacksonville Aging Studies Center is set to open in May.

By: Tina Bottini

Space renovations in the Professional Office Building for the Jacksonville Aging Studies Center, or JAX-ASCENT, are complete. JAX-ASCENT will provide an environment for researchers of diverse disciplines to network and perform behavioral, nutritional and pharmacologic clinical research studies on aging and independence of older adults.

JAX-ASCENT will be a state-of-the-art clinical translational facility, complete with interview and examination rooms for health assessments, physical-performance measures and cognitive, memory, body composition and strength tests. There will also be laboratory space for processing specimens and conference rooms for meetings.

The center will offer a setting for junior faculty to work with senior faculty and training junior scholars to become future leaders in aging research. A request for applications for junior scholars was issued to the Jacksonville research community in early March. Primary qualifications for this opportunity include junior faculty at the assistant professor, fellow or postdoctoral associate levels; a proposed research project tied to chronic and critical illness-related inflammation; a commitment to a research career in aging; and sufficient protected time of 50 to 75 percent to actualize the research career development plan.

Registry recruitment

JAX-ASCENT is looking for adults 60 and older who are interested in taking part in research studies. Participants will have the opportunity to be involved in a variety of studies, from assessing risk factors that affect healthy aging to exploring prevention therapies that could improve quality of life. One of the first objectives is to establish a participant registry primarily comprised of racial minorities and people of low socioeconomic status. This aim is for them to assist with recruitment and retention, applying a model of community-based participatory research.

In addition, JAX-ASCENT will host free health events and other activities tailored to the needs of a high-risk population of older underserved minorities. A ribbon-cutting ceremony for JAX-ASCENT is set for 11 a.m. May 11. Additional information about the event will be provided soon.

Other research awards

Hendry

Phyllis Hendry, M.D.

University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville researchers have received two large awards in 2018. Phyllis Hendry, M.D., is the Jacksonville principal investigator, along with researchers from the University of North Carolina and Harvard University, on a novel national initiative to improve the understanding, prevention and recovery of soldiers and civilians who have experienced a traumatic event. The five-year funding from the National Institutes of Health for this project is $21 million. Private foundations are providing additional funding.

Crandall

Marie Crandall, M.D.

Marie Crandall, M.D., is the Jacksonville principal investigator on a contract from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to examine the relative risks of being severely injured or killed in a motor vehicle crash when drivers use licit or illicit drugs. Participants will include seriously injured drivers who are transported to a trauma center and fatally injured drivers who are taken directly to the medical examiner’s office. The trauma centers involved in this study include UF Health TraumaOne, Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Ryder Trauma Center in Miami. The total amount of the funding for this project is $6.7 million for 54 months.

IRB site visit

The University of Florida Institutional Review Boards’ site visit by the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs was Jan. 10-12. The visit went well, with only minor elements cited as not fully compliant. We should receive the official notification of the accreditation status any time. The association’s accreditation demonstrates our institution’s commitment to the highest standard of a human subject research protection program.

Celebration of Research

UF COMJ’s Celebration of Research 2018 is set for May 24, from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. The program will commence with oral presentations by selected residents and fellows, followed by presentations by guest speakers and an awards ceremony. It will conclude with lunch and poster viewing. Please plan on attending this event to support our campus’ research endeavors.