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Research Opportunities

During the Medical Student Training in Aging Research (MSTAR) Program, students will be able to participate in research projects looking at a range of topics within basic science, clinical and population-based research, and health services research.

Basic science

In basic science, students can choose from three research areas:

The causes and treatment of frailty: Researchers at the Claude D. Pepper Older Americans' Independence Center (OAIC), in Baltimore, Maryland, work on projects that will develop novel interventions to diagnose, prevent or treat frailty, or minimize adverse outcomes related to the presence of frailty.

Examining the common link among frailty, inflammation, and cancer: At the Division of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology’s Aging Research program, in Baltimore, Maryland, researchers are assessing frailty via genetics and mouse models as well as looking for the common link among frailty, inflammation, and cancer.

Neuropathology: In the Division of Neuropathology, researchers have undertaken a number of projects that relate to gerontology, including Alzheimer’s Disease, neurological diseases, and neurodegeneration.

Clinical and population-based research

Working through one of two Centers on Aging and Health on the Johns Hopkins campus in Baltimore, Maryland, medical students have the opportunity to do research in a number of content areas related to clinical and population-based aging research. Those content areas include:

  • The natural history, risk factors, and prevention of chronic diseases, frailty, disability, falls, comorbidity, cognition, and dementia
  • Social and behavioral epidemiology
  • Health promotion and prevention for older adults
  • Causes for health disparities in older populations
  • Randomized trials of behavioral and pharmacologic therapies to prevent physical and cognitive disabilities, and social modes for prevention.

Health services research

At the Centers on Aging and Health, a research team studies health services. Current research projects fall in these categories:

  • Guided care
  • Successful aging and association with the use of health care
  • Inclusive care of the elderly
  • Care for chronic disease

Geriatrics Education

A major strength at Johns Hopkins, both within the geriatrics division and beyond, is it's highly refined programs to develop and evaluate educational interventions. These interventions may target medical student knowledge and attitudes about aging populations, caregiver needs, patient needs, non-geriatrics healthcare providers, and many others. To find out more about this research area of the program, please contact Colleen Christmas at

Examples of recent MSTAR research projects