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Center for Health in Aging announces 2022 pilot project awards
A doctor wearing a mask, stethoscope and lab coat speaks to a patient wearing a mask.

The Emory Center for Health in Aging has announced four innovative pilot projects selected to receive up to $45,000 each for research related to the health and well-being of older adults.

The newly relaunched Emory Center for Health in Aging has announced four innovative pilot projects selected to receive up to $45,000 each for one year of study. The projects are a key tenant of the revitalized center, which will serve as a hub for innovation and cross-disciplinary collaboration throughout the Emory community.

“In the coming decades, the city of Atlanta will boast more than one million citizens over the age of 75,” says center director Camille Vaughan, MD, MS. “Emory is leading the way in research and health care innovations aimed at optimizing the well-being of older adults, understanding the interactions between multiple chronic conditions, and promoting caregiving mastery in a variety of settings. We are excited for the opportunity to support our awardees as they seek to answer the questions at the core of the center’s mission.”

Each project aligns with the center’s mission to promote the health and well-being of older adults. The awardees hail from disciplines across the Woodruff Health Sciences Center.

The 2022 pilot projects are: 

Headshot of Deepta Ghate, MD

Deepta Ghate, MD

“Differential high-level visual impairments and their impact on quality of life in glaucoma,” awarded to Deepta Ghate, MD 

This pilot project will study methods to promote the independence of older patients with glaucoma. The results can be applied to patients with other chronic diseases that cause peripheral vision loss to further advance the health and well-being of older adults.

Ghate is a glaucoma specialist at the Emory Eye Center and associate professor in the department of ophthalmology at Emory University School of Medicine. Her research focuses on how vision loss in older adults affects activities of daily living and optimizing rehabilitation of these patients. 

Headshot of Soroosh Kiani, MD

Soroosh Kiani, MD

“Examining the overlapping syndromes of frailty and congestive heart failure in older patients undergoing cardiac resynchronization therapy,” awarded to Soroosh Kiani, MD 

Individuals with frailty syndromes are underrepresented in many cardiovascular studies, although frailty is prevalent among those with cardiovascular disease. This project will investigate how frailty impacts the outcomes of patients undergoing invasive cardiovascular procedures and will provide a framework for patient-specific approaches to predicting those who are likely to benefit from cardiac resynchronization therapy. 

Kiani is a cardiac electrophysiologist and assistant professor of medicine at Emory University School of Medicine. 

Headshot of Jane Lowers, PhD

Jane Lowers, PhD

“Aging alone with dementia: A qualitative investigation of care-seeking and caregiving,” awarded to Jane Lowers, PhD, and in partnership with the Emory Roybal Center for Dementia Caregiving Mastery 

This project aims to provide insight into the perspectives of dementia patients and the caregivers who support them, thereby defining the priorities and parameters of future interventions. 

Lowers is an instructor in the division of palliative medicine and program manager for palliative care research at Emory University School of Medicine. Her research focuses on supporting self-determination in individuals with dementia and addressing caregiving mastery when caregivers or advocates with close familial ties to a patient are unavailable. 

Headshot of James Rilling, PhD

James Rilling, PhD

“Brain function and brain aging in dementia caregivers,” awarded to James Rilling, PhD 

This pilot project seeks to understand the neurological causes and consequences of stress among dementia caregivers with the goal of promoting psychological well-being in older adults. 

Rilling is a professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Emory University School of Medicine and a professor of anthropology at Emory College of Arts and Sciences. His research specializations include the study of human brain evolution and combining game theory paradigms and functional MRI to investigate the neural bases of human social cognition. 

The pilot studies will receive funding through Dec. 31, 2022. In addition to these projects, the Center for Health in Aging will establish a research academy initially focused on supporting early-career faculty of the Woodruff Health Sciences Center with individual coaching to promote grant submissions. Faculty interested in learning more are encouraged to email For more information about the center, visit

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