Research Training

Research Training in Biogerontology (T32)

Predoctoral and Postdoctoral Training Program
Scott Pletcher, Ph.D., Director


The U-M Geriatrics Center’s research training program emphasizes studies of the biology of the aging process and its relation to human diseases of late life. Areas of particular interest include:

  • Genetic control of aging in mice
  • Effects of aging on muscle structure and function
  • Regulation of balance, glucose homeostasis and blood pressure in aging people
  • Effects of aging on bone, brain and stem cell function
  • Genetic studies of aging in fruit flies and C. elegans

Supported by a training grant from the National Institute on Aging, research fellowships provide stipends and related expenses to qualified applicants. The program offers:

  • Exposure to the traditional rigors of disciplinary research training
  • Sensitization to the multidimensional nature of the process of biological aging
  • Exposure to affiliated faculty from various disciplines
  • Seminar series, a journal club, poster sessions and annual research retreats

Required experiences include:

  • Research project
  • Research seminar series
  • Participation in scientific meetings
  • Bi-weekly trainee meetings
  • Program for the Education and Evaluation in Responsible Research and Scholarship

Research Training Program Information for Applicants

The Geriatrics Center supervises an NIA-funded training program, "Research Training in Biogerontology" (formerly known as "Biomedical Research Training in the Biology of Aging"). The program provides training and financial support for predoctoral and postdoctoral students committed to laboratory studies of the cellular and molecular basis of aging and the links between the aging process and late-life illnesses and disabilities. The 21 faculty members who comprise the preceptor group come from a wide range of departments and divisions at the University of Michigan, including Internal Medicine, Pathology, Kinesiology, Orthopedic Surgery, Neurology, Human Genetics, Molecular and Integrative Physiology, Mechanical Engineering, Physics, Cell and Developmental Biology, Urology, and Biological Chemistry. The training program provides students with valuable training experiences, including a guest seminar series, trainee meetings, and assistance with preparation for national meeting presentations. The central activity of all trainees is hands-on laboratory work on individual research projects under the supervision of their chosen mentor.

A training grant supported by the National Institute on Aging, active since 1984, supports both pre and post-doctoral students with stipend rates based on current NIH guidelines. In addition, most of our laboratories work closely with our two major core grants, the Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center (directed by Jeffrey Halter) and the Nathan Shock Center of Excellence for the Biology of Aging (directed by Richard Miller). Core facilities include specialized laboratories and consultant services in muscle biology, production and analysis of transgenic and mutant mice, biostatistics and experimental design, gene expression analysis, development of new animal models, use of human subjects, comparative biology of aging, and genetic studies in invertebrate models.

Although program activities are open to all students and postdoctoral fellows who are interested in aging research, financial support can also be provided to six predoctoral and three postdoctoral fellows each year. Predoctoral applicants are typically supported for two years after they achieve candidacy in their home department; postdoctoral fellows typically receive two years of financial support. Applications are evaluated for academic excellence, commitment of mentor and trainee to biogerontology, and likelihood that the project will produce exciting research results. Because of Federal regulations, only US citizens and permanent residents are eligible for support from the NIA training grant.

Individuals interested in applying for support from the Aging Training Program should forward a letter of interest, a letter of support from the mentor, a one page description of the proposed research project, a complete curriculum vitae and bibliography, graduate transcript, and at least two additional letters of recommendation to:

109 Zina Pitcher Place
University of Michigan Geriatrics Center
3016 BSRB
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2200

Research Education Core (REC)

The REC is a component of the Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center, funded by the National Institute on Aging. The primary goal of the Research Education Core is to recruit, select, support, mentor, and train junior faculty to become independent investigators in aging-related research and academic leaders in geriatrics and gerontology within their respective disciplines. The REC focuses on stimulating the translation between basic and clinical research across the spectrum of its training activities, including the annual research education core retreat. To this end it serves a critical function in supporting the overall OAIC focus by training the next generation of investigators whose research will lead to an improved understanding of the predictors and modulators of the aging phenotype.

Core Director: Neil Alexander, M.D., M.S.