Funded by the National Institute on Aging, the Pathways program provides cutting-edge training to graduate students and post-doctoral scholars with a focus on understanding the linkages among behavioral, psychosocial, and biological mechanisms that underlie healthy and unhealthy aging. Aging science is multidisciplinary and complex, requiring analytic skills at multiple levels of analysis and across multiple timescales. The Center for Healthy Aging (CHA) has a 40 year history of research excellence and of training researchers who have helped shape aging science. Current research conducted by Pathways faculty mentors includes understanding the role daily stress plays in shaping long-term health trajectories, tracking the enduring effects of early childhood adversity and chronic stress on momentary self-regulation, elucidating the endocrine and inflammatory processes underlying cognitive aging, identifying molecular targets mediating age-related vascular dysfunction, and linking chronic sleep deficiency to cardiometabolic outcomes.
Pathways fellows have two mentors: one faculty member conducting psychosocial/behavioral research and one conducting biological research. Fellows in the Pathways program can receive hands-on experience in designing and implementing intensive repeated measure studies (e.g., ecological momentary assessment, measurement burst designs, and daily diaries). With the aid of their faculty mentors, fellows can explore daily diary and ambulatory cortisol assessments; analyze data from projects that include smartphones and ambulatory technology to assess behavior, emotion, physiology and cognitive function in naturalistic settings; measure sympathetic nerve outflow and real-time microvessel function; and assess sleep in both naturalistic and experimental settings.