Meet our Researchers
Alyce S. Adams, PhD
Dr. Adams is the inaugural Stanford Medicine Innovation Professor and a Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, and of Health Policy, and, by courtesy, of Pediatrics at Stanford School of Medicine. She also serves as Associate Director for Community Outreach Engagement in the Stanford Cancer Institute. Focusing on racial and socioeconomic disparities in chronic disease treatment outcomes in older adults, Dr. Adams' stakeholder engaged research seeks to evaluate the impact of changes in drug coverage policy on access to essential medications, understand the drivers of disparities in treatment adherence among insured populations, and test strategies for maximizing the benefits of treatment outcomes while minimizing harms through informed decision-making. Dr. Adams currently serves as MPI of the AGING Initiative, the goal of which is to bridge the Health Care Systems Research Network with the Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Centers to create a national resource to nurture and advance an interdisciplinary research agenda focused on older adults with multiple chronic conditions. In addition, she is Co-Director and MPI of the Diabetes Research for Equity through Advanced Multilevel Science Center for Diabetes Translational Research (DREAMS-CDTR), a collaborative partnership between Stanford University, Kaiser Permanente Northern California’s Division of Research and the University of California at San Francisco, Merced and Davis that aims to accelerate the translation of diabetes research into changes in healthcare delivery, public health practice, and policy.
Helen Blau, PhD
Dr. Helen Blau is the Donald E. and Delia B. Baxter Foundation Professor and Director of the Baxter Laboratory for Stem Cell Biology at Stanford School of Medicine. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine, and the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. She studies cellular reprogramming, therapeutic interventions to enhance stem cell function in muscle regeneration, and cell rejuvenation strategies. By perturbing the intracellular or extracellular milieu, her laboratory is probing the regulatory network and molecular grammars that determine cell fate and how it can be altered in aging. She has discovered novel small molecules and niche proteins that rejuvenate, expand, and enhance the function of muscle stem cells, crucial for muscle regeneration. She and Dr. Kado have recently secured Wu Tsai Human Agility Project funding for a two-year project to test whether a marker that is elevated in aged mice is also elevated in aged humans and can be therapeutically targeted to increase muscle strength and ameliorate sarcopenia. Their grant is entitled, “Establishing a Novel Therapeutic Biomarker for Age-associated Muscle Wasting.”
Laura L. Carstensen, PhD.
Laura L. Carstensen is Professor of Psychology at Stanford University where she is the Fairleigh S. Dickinson Jr. Professor in Public Policy and founding director of the Stanford Center on Longevity. She and Dr. Kado have formed a close collaboration through Stanford’s Longevity Center (https://longevity.stanford.edu) that includes co-directing a course at Stanford University entitled, “Longevity.” Professor Carstensen’s research program includes theoretical and empirical study of motivational and emotional changes that occur with age and the influence such changes have on cognitive processing. She is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine and has served on the MacArthur Foundation’s Research Network on an Aging Society and the National Advisory Council on Aging to National Institute on Aging. Carstensen’s awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Kleemeier Award, The Richard Kalish Award for Innovative Research and distinguished mentor awards from both the Gerontological Society of America and the American Psychological Association. She is the author of A Long Bright Future: Happiness, Health, and Financial Security in an Age of Increased Longevity. Carstensen received her B.S. from the University of Rochester and her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from West Virginia University. She holds an honorary doctorate from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium.
Steve Collins, PhD
Steve Collins, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University, where he directs the Stanford Biomechatronics Laboratory. His primary research focus is to speed and systematize the design and prescription of prostheses and exoskeletons using versatile device emulator hardware and human-in-the-loop optimization algorithms (Zhang et al. 2017, Science). Another interest is efficient autonomous devices, such as highly energy-efficient walking robots (Collins et al. 2005, Science) and exoskeletons that use no energy yet reduce the metabolic energy cost of human walking (Collins et al. 2015, Nature). Recently, he and Dr. Kado have collaborated on applying and testing some of his ankle exoskeleton technology to improve gait speed in older persons.
Prof. Collins received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University, his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan, where he performed research on the dynamics and control of human walking. He performed postdoctoral research on humanoid robots at T. U. Delft in the Netherlands. He was a professor of Mechanical Engineering and Robotics at Carnegie Mellon University for seven years before he joined the Stanford Faculty in Mechanical Engineering in 2017.
Prasha Govindarajan, MD
Dr. Prasha Govindarajan is a physician-scientist in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Stanford University. She is an expert in developing best practices in acute stroke care for US-based ambulance systems and improving treatment utilization through coordinated ambulance and emergency-based care. Some of her earlier work resulted in passage of a county-wide law that mandated ambulance staff to bypass local emergency departments and take them directly to emergency departments in certified stroke centers. She has continued to receive NIH R01 funding from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to examine the causal effects of state-and county-wide laws on clot-lysing drug utilization in addition to allowing her team to validate her previous findings in a national sample of Medicare beneficiaries across 32 U.S. states. Through her work and expertise, she currently serves as an advisor to guide the development of best practices for U.S. ambulance systems. Some of her work in health care systems data has identified clear disparities in access and treatment allocation, particularly as it applies to our oldest old populations. Her ground-breaking research to optimize emergent services for stroke victims in conjunction with the Stanford Emergency Department’s recent designation as a Level 2 Geriatric Emergency Department, demonstrate both the Stanford ED-geriatric clinician and research collaborations that make a difference to our older patient populations.
Christine Gould, Ph.D., ABPP
Christine Gould, Ph.D., ABPP, is a board-certified geropsychologist and Associate Director of Education and Evaluation at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center (GRECC). She also is a Clinical Associate Professor in the Stanford University School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Her research focuses on helping older adults use technology-delivered interventions including video interventions, internet interventions, and mobile apps. She also is evaluating models of increasing access to geriatric psychiatry expertise including using tele-consultation across health care systems. She has received funding from the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, VA Rehabilitation Research and Development Service, VA Office of Rural Health, VHA Geriatrics and Extended Care Services, and Meru Health.
Robert Jackler, MD
Dr. Jackler is the Edward C. and Amy H. Sewall Professor, Emeritus, and immediate past Chair of Otolaryngology- Head and Neck Surgery at Stanford University. He is an otologist-neurotologist who leads the Stanford Initiative to Cure Hearing Loss whose mission is to create biological cures for major forms of inner ear hearing loss through a research effort that is sustained, large-scale, multi-disciplinary, focused, goal-oriented, and transformational. In addition to biological cures, he leads a Starkey funded effort to transform hearing aids into multifunctional health and communication devices with artificial intelligence. Dr. Jackler, Dr. Kado, and a multi-disciplinary team are currently collaborating on a funded project to conduct fall risk assessments and speech intelligibility enhancement using state-of-the-art hearing aids equipped with motion tracking.
Deborah M. Kado, MD, MS
Professor, Geriatrics Section Research Chief, Primary Care & Population Health, Co-director, Stanford Longevity Center
Most of Dr. Kado’s research involves the aging musculoskeletal system that matches well with her clinical expertise in geriatrics, osteoporosis, and metabolic bone disease. She continues to be clinically active, seeing patients in Endocrinology for osteoporosis at Stanford Health Care and the VA Palo Alto. She chooses to see patients because they are often her best teachers in that they help to identify unresolved clinical questions and provide insight as to what is most important to them. Examples of currently funded projects include NIH R01 grants (2021-2026) on “Urinary Cadmium Levels and Risk of Fracture and Bone Loss,” “Long-term fracture risk and change in peripheral bone in the oldest old men: the MrOS Study,” and “Hip fracture pathology in chronic kidney disease.” Her range of research interests are broad, ranging from musculoskeletal aging to the gut microbiome to translational work from basic laboratories to robotic labs to older persons. The broad scope of her work is only possible through the meaningful collaborations that she enjoys with many esteemed colleagues and students here at Stanford and other institutions.
Michelle P. Lin, MD, MPH, MS
Dr. Lin is an Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine whose work is driven by a strong belief that emergency departments can be a key partner in improving care for older adults—in particular, for those who experience barriers to accessing care in other settings due to adverse social and functional factors. Her projects seek to understand how acute care delivery innovations can reduce hospitalizations, enhance care coordination, and improve patient-centered outcomes for older adults. Dr. Lin has received funding from the Stanford Alzheimer’s Disease Research center to evaluate disparities in access to Geriatric Emergency Department Accreditation among structurally marginalized populations. She led the development of the first ED-focused geriatric prescription safety quality measure in her leadership role overseeing national quality measure development for the Clinical Emergency Data Registry and American College of Emergency Physicians. Her NIH-funded research portfolio aims to validate a novel patient-reported outcome measure for emergency care and evaluate the impact of value-based care on emergency care delivery and payment. She was previously a fellow at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation evaluating access to care among Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in advanced alternative payment models.
Feng Vankee Lin, PhD
Dr. F. Vankee Lin is a clinical professor. She has been devoted to understanding the neural mechanisms involved in brain aging and brain plasticity, with a special focus on early detection and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Her research approach integrates principles and findings from cognitive theory, clinical neuroscience, and computational neuroscience. This approach is complemented by her extensive research experience involving multi-modality neuroimaging (PET, sMRI, dMRI, and fMRI), psychophysiology, neuropsychology, and quantitative research methods. She currently leads an interdisciplinary clinical neuroscience lab, covering a wide spectrum of research from Phases 0-2 in three areas: (a) brain aging, focusing on the links between brain pathophysiology and clinical symptoms, in a wide range of populations, from older adults with superior cognitive capacity to preclinical and prodromal AD, with an overarching aim to gain insights into the broad mechanisms of aging, both in typical and atypical populations and to identify early biomarkers for AD; (b) novel non- pharmacological interventions that promote successful cognitive aging as well as alleviate or eliminate adverse effects of AD pathophysiology; and (c) advanced computational models (e.g., explainable AI) for understanding and intervening on brain aging.
Christine Liu, MD, MS
Dr. Liu and her research program are dedicated to improving the lives of older adults with kidney disease. Currently her research focuses on mobility, which is the ability to move safely and reliably from one place to another. In older adults, poor mobility strongly predicts future disability and death. Retaining mobility has been cited by older adults as fundamental to quality to life; yet many older persons with kidney disease, especially those with late stage chronic kidney disease or outright kidney failure, have trouble just walking across the room or transferring to a chair. Dually trained in geriatric medicine and epidemiology, Dr. Liu also has significant expertise in older adult clinical trials, including safety trials of novel agents as well as intervention studies to reduce infections in older populations.
Michelle Odden, PhD
Michelle Odden, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Population Health (E&PH) in the Stanford School of Medicine and a Research Scientist in the Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center (GRECC) in the VA Palo Alto Health Care System. Her research aims to improve our understanding of the optimal preventive strategies for chronic disease in older adults, particularly those who have been underrepresented in research including the very old, frail, and racial/ethnic minorities. Her work has focused on prevention of cardiovascular and kidney outcomes, as well as preservation of physical and cognitive function in older adults. Additionally, she has new projects in mitochondrial genetics and the proteomic signature of aging. Dr. Odden’s methodologic focus in in causal inference and methods to reduce biases in observational studies. She has mentored clinical trainees and graduate students, and teaches advanced epidemiologic methods. She also serves as the Chair of the E&PH Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee. She completed her Ph.D. in Epidemiology from the University of California, Berkeley (2009), a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco in Primary Care Research (2011).
David Rehkopf, ScD, MPH
David Rehkopf is an Associate Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, in the Department of Medicine in the Division of Primary Care and Population Health and in Sociology (by courtesy). He serves as the Director of the Stanford Center for Population Health Sciences and in this capacity works with faculty and trainees to make high value data available to enable them to answer their most pressing clinical and population health questions.
His own research is focused on understanding the health implications of the myriad decisions that are made by corporations and governments every day - decisions that profoundly shape the social and economic worlds in which we live and work. While these changes are often invisible to us on a daily basis, these seemingly minor actions and decisions form structural nudges that can create better or worse health at a population level. His work demonstrates the health implications of corporate and governmental decisions that can give the public and policy makers evidence to support new strategies for promoting health and well-being. In particular, he has a focus on the implications of these exposures for health inequalities.
Since often policy and programmatic changes can take decades to influence health, his work also includes more basic research in understanding biological signals that may act as early warning signs of systemic disease, in particular accelerated aging. With his appointments in Epidemiology and Population Health, Primary Care and Population Health, and as co-Director of the Stanford Longevity Center with Dr. Kado, they share many common research interests with the shared goals of improving health span as we age.
Carolyn Dacey Seib, MD, MAS
Carolyn Dacey Seib, MD, MAS is an Assistant Professor and endocrine surgeon at the Stanford University School of Medicine and VA Palo Alto Health Care System. Dr. Seib is a health services researcher with a Master’s degree in clinical research with a focus on epidemiology and biostatistics from the University of California, San Francisco. The goal of her research program is to improve and individualize the management of endocrine disorders in older adults, with an emphasis on primary hyperparathyroidism and hyperthyroidism. She has been funded by a National Institute on Aging (NIA) GEMSSTAR R03 award, the American Thyroid Association, and the Veterans Administration, and currently holds an NIA K76 Beeson Career Development Award for Emerging Leaders in Aging focused on the development of decision support interventions for older adults with primary hyperparathyroidism. Working closely with mentors and collaborators in the Stanford Department of Medicine and Division of Geriatrics, including Dr. Deborah Kado and Dr. Manjula Kurella Tamura, Dr. Seib is incorporating geriatric principles into recommendations for the surgical management of endocrine disorders in older adults.
Manjula Kurella Tamura, MD, MPH
Manjula Kurella Tamura, MD, MPH is Professor of Medicine with a primary appointment in the Division of Nephrology and Director of the Geriatric Research and Education Clinical Center (GRECC) at the Palo Alto VA. She leads a health services research program addressing benefits and harms of chronic kidney disease treatments in older adults, with special interest in dialysis and hypertension treatment. Her research utilizes clinical trials, cohort studies, and real world evidence methods, and has been supported by multiple NIH, VA, and foundation awards. She serves as an Associate Editor at the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, and on the Advisory committees for the Clin-STAR and Beeson programs in transdisciplinary aging research. She has a strong commitment to mentoring trainees from the pre-medical stage through the post-doctoral and junior faculty ranks.
Ranak Trivedi, PhD
Dr. Trivedi is a clinical health psychologist and health services researcher, with an expertise in understanding the relationship between psychosocial factors (e.g., depression and social support) and clinical outcomes of chronic illnesses. She envisions a culturally attuned health care system that is not only patient centered, but family centered and has an expertise in research with informal caregivers and patient-caregiver dyads that are managing chronic and serious illnesses. She serves as the Director of Caregiving and Family Systems at the Stanford Center for Asian Health Research and Education (CARE). In addition, she is the Director of Education and Training at the Center for Innovation to Implementation at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System and the national Training Director of the Elizabeth Dole National Center of Excellence for Veteran and Caregiver Research. Dr. Trivedi shares common clinical and research interests with several of the VA Palo Alto and Stanford clinical faculty and their work together promises to improve the breadth and scope of multidisciplinary clinical services for patients and their families affected by dementia.