Emphasizing multidisciplinary research training across the translational spectrum for clinician and non-clinician scientists doing work in biomedical, psychosocial, population health, or implementation science fields to enhance resilience in aging

About the program

The Duke Aging Center T32 program emphasizes multidisciplinary research training across the translational spectrum, and facilitates supplemental enrichment activities relevant to clinician and non-clinician scientists doing work in biomedical, psychosocial, population health, or implementation science fields to enhance resilience in aging.

The goal of our postdoctoral research training program is to produce highly skilled research scientists who have the potential for leadership in gerontological research. In the Duke Aging Center Postdoctoral Research Training Program (RTP), much of the training for each fellow is provided by that person’s faculty mentor(s) in a research apprenticeship program. A fellow carries out his/her own research as a junior colleague in the mentor’s research program or laboratory. In addition to working in their mentors’ programs, all fellows attend a weekly interdisciplinary didactic seminar.

All fellows attend a weekly interdisciplinary didactic seminar as a cornerstone of their training experience. Over each two-year period, the seminar covers four topical areas:

  • biomedical aspects of aging,
  • psychology of aging,
  • sociology of aging,
  • and professional practices.

This structure enables the research training program (RTP) to provide highly specialized and individualized training in a fellow’s substantive area while at the same time providing a broad understanding of basic gerontological issues as well. This strategy encourages each developing scientist to relate his/her work to the overall field of aging, and also, on a more practical level, to mix with other scholars and build a network of colleagues and collaborators in gerontology. The cross-fertilization of ideas that occurs in this interdisciplinary framework has, in fact, lead to cross-disciplinary work among fellows and faculty.

Our seminar is attended by the trainees from this and other training programs at Duke and in the area, by visiting scholars to the Aging Center and to the campus, and by faculty associated with the Aging Center. It is a forum for a discussion of gerontological issues from many perspectives.

Org chart of Aging Center T32



Ashley ArteseAshley Artese, PhD

Ashley Artese is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Duke Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development at Duke University Medical Center. She earned a B.S. in kinesiology from the College of William and Mary and an M.S. in exercise science from the University of South Carolina. Following several years working as an exercise physiologist, she went on to complete her Ph.D. in exercise physiology at Florida State University with a focus on investigating the effects of exercise interventions including strength training, functional training, and yoga on health, body composition, and physician function in breast cancer survivors and older adults. She is currently working under the mentorship of David Bartlett, Ph.D. and Anthony Sung, M.D. to examine the impact of exercise training on health and clinical outcomes in patients who have undergone hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. She will also explore associations between physical function, cardiovascular endurance, and immune cell function in older adults with chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

Grace BrennanGrace Brennan, PhD

Grace is a clinical psychologist working under the mentorship of Terrie Moffitt and Avshalom Caspi. Her research focuses on the development of disinhibitory psychopathology across the lifespan. Her work examines the cognitive and affective mechanisms contributing to disinhibited behaviors (e.g., aggression, problematic substance use) as well as the social and health consequences for individuals who chronically engage in these behaviors. Grace uses both lab-based experimental paradigms and longitudinal cohort study designs in her research. Grace received her B.S. in Psychology and German Studies from the College of William & Mary and her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Yale University.

Brett BurrowsBrett Burrows, PhD

Brett completed his PhD in Kinesiology at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He also earned a B.S. and M.S. in Exercise Physiology from East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania. During his doctorate, his research focused on improving the health and quality of life of patients with end-stage kidney disease through patient-centered clinical research strategies involving novel exercise and psychosocial interventions. Specifically, Brett was interested in reducing depressive symptoms to boost adherence to exercise prescription. Brett is also interested in multidisciplinary research approaches to improve patient-centered outcomes in patients with chronic kidney disease. Currently, for his RTP Fellowship, Brett is working under the mentorship of Drs. Barrett Bowling and Kelli Allen and is examining the association between depressive symptoms, physical resilience trajectory, and incident health stressors in older adult veterans with advanced chronic kidney disease.


Cleothia FrazierCleothia Frazier, PhD

Dr. Cleothia Frazier completed her PhD in Sociology at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN. Her research focuses on aging and the life course, health disparities, stress, and the effects of the neighborhood environment on health. She uses quantitative and qualitative methods to examine how differences in mental and physical health among older adults are due to the accumulation of advantages and disadvantages along the lines of race, gender, and class. Another area of interest is examining how sleep is an integral part of society, a key indicator of health, and a mechanism that helps explain health disparities in later life. Cleothia’s program of research for the RTP, entitled “‘Aging in Segregated Place’: An Examination of Health, Well-being, and Healthcare Utilization among Older Black Americans”, investigates what ‘aging in place’ means for older Blacks residing in segregated communities. Specifically, her research asks how does residential segregation effect older Blacks’ health and well-being as well as their interactions with the healthcare system? Cleothia’s faculty mentor for the RTP is Dr. Tyson Brown, Associate Professor of Sociology.


Melody ReeseMelody Reese, PhD

Melody completed her PhD in Cellular and Behavioral Neurobiology at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, OK, where she also earned B.A.s in Mathematics and Psychology. After graduation, she worked as a postdoc at Duke under Drs. Miles Berger and Joseph Mathew in the Department of Anesthesiology’s Neurologic Outcomes Research Group (NORG) researching brain biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease, postoperative delirium, and postoperative cognitive dysfunction. She now works in the Aging Center under the mentorship of Drs. Miles Berger, Marty Woldorff, and Brandon Westover, who bring specialized knowledge of neuro-anesthesiology, EEG methodology, and machine learning to the team. For her RTP project, Melody will record EEG and play auditory tones as older surgical patients regain consciousness after major surgery to investigate whether abnormalities in the neurophysiological timing, pattern, or strength of the return of sensory processing after anesthesia is associated with later development of postoperative delirium. This data will be analyzed using both standard (general linear and logistic modeling) and novel (machine learning-based) quantitative approaches.

Jessie WestJessica S. West, PhD, MPH

Jessica is a medical sociologist who specializes in research on hearing loss, aging, and health disparities over the life course. Jessica’s work has described the “spillover” effects of hearing loss on health outcomes for both individuals and those close to them, as well as sociodemographic disparities in the onset of and life expectancy with hearing loss. Her research has appeared in the Journals of GerontologySocial Science & MedicineEar and Hearing, and other leading journals in medical sociology, hearing, and aging research. For her postdoctoral fellowship, Jessica will leverage both population-level data and electronic health record data to investigate racial/ethnic differences in age-related trajectories of hearing loss and access to and utilization of hearing healthcare services. Her current mentors are Matthew E. Dupre, Ph.D. (Population Health Sciences) and Sherri L. Smith, Au.D., Ph.D. (Head and Neck Surgery & Communication Sciences).

Jessica received a B.A. from the University of Michigan in Social Anthropology (dual Sociology/Anthropology concentration) followed by an M.P.H. in Sociomedical Sciences with a certificate in Public Health Research Methods from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. She subsequently received an M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology with a focus in Medical Sociology and Demography at Duke University.


Information for Applicants

Positions in our program are two-year appointments and are open to anyone with an interest in and a track record of aging research and at least two remaining years of T32 funding eligibility.

Applicants must be citizens of the United States, or have been lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence (green card holder). You must have a completed doctoral degree/terminal degree in your field when you join the program. All course work must be completed, and if applying as a PhD, final orals must be passed, and the dissertation signed before you can begin the program.

The Duke Aging Center is committed to promoting health equity and adding value to our community through diverse perspectives.  Scholars from traditionally marginalized backgrounds are encouraged to apply. 

Through its NIA-funded T32 (NIA T32AG000029), the Duke Aging Center offers 3 postdoctoral research training fellowship positions each academic year. Appointments are for a duration of two-years, pending availability of funding.

We are currently accepting applications for the 2024-2025 academic year (start date: by 7/1/2024)The priority application deadline for this cohort is October 1, 2023.

Step 1: Initial Proposal

The initial proposal should include the following in ONE PDF FILE, submitted VIA THIS LINK :

  1. 2-page statement of interest including: research focus, training goals, commitment to a career in aging research, statement of eligibility, and the name of a potential Duke mentor or mentor team for your postdoctoral training.  (See below for guidance on identifying a mentor)
  2. Your current CV (including anticipated date of degree completion or number of years of postdoctoral experience)

Step 2: Mentor Engagement 

Initial proposals will be reviewed by the Postdoctoral Research Training Program leadership. Viable proposals will be forwarded by the program to the potential mentor for review. With the approval of the mentor, the applicant will be invited to connect directly with the mentor to discuss the proposed research and training plan, and secure the mentor’s support for the application.

Step 3: Letters of Support/Recommendation

Invited applicants will be asked to submit a letter of support from their Duke mentor and at least one letter of recommendation from a previous mentor or faculty member from their terminal degree program.

Step 4: Final Review

Completed application packages (statement of interest, CV, mentor letter, and letter(s) of recommendation) will be presented to the program’s Internal Executive Committee.  Applicants may be invited to interview with their potential mentor and program leadership and/or submit graduate transcripts.


Basis for Judging Applications
Applications are assessed by a faculty committee via an NIH-style review and judged on the basis of their scientific merit, relevance to aging, and the fit of the trainee’s needs for training with the resources of the mentor and the training program.

Mentors should be regular rank faculty from Duke University and/or Duke University Medical Center. Each mentor must have evidence of a significant interest in aging/life course and a strong record of publication/funding in these areas.

The list below is only a partial roster of faculty available to serve as mentors for the Duke Aging Center’s T32. You can also explore the Center’s Senior Fellows Directory and the Scholars@Duke research directory.  (Note: On the Scholars@Duke page, find the box below EXPLORE, and enter key words from your research area. Be sure to include “aging” to receive the most applicable results.)

We encourage team mentorship, so feel free to propose 1-3 mentors to best suit your research interests and training goals.

You can click on each program faculty member’s name below to view their Scholars@Duke profile.

Behavioral Science
and Neuroscience:

Biomedical Sciences:

Social Sciences,
Health Services,
and Biostatistics:

Miles Berger, MD, PhD

Roberto Cabeza, Ph.D.

Avshalom Caspi, PhD

Katherine Hall, PhD

Scott Huettel, PhD

Terrie Moffitt PhD

Guy Potter, PhD

Gregory Samanez-Larkin, PhD

Ilene Siegler, Ph.D.

Jenny Tung, PhD

David J. Madden, Ph.D

Maria Marquine, PhD

David Rubin, Ph.D.

Kathleen A. Welsh-Bohmer, Ph.D.

Redford B. Williams, Jr., M.D.







Connie W. Bales, PhD

Harvey J. Cohen, M.D.

Cathleen Colon-Emeric, MD

Kim Huffman, MD, PhD

Kimberly S. Johnson, MD, MHS

Ravi Karra, MD, NMHS

Virginia Kraus, MD, PhD

William E. Kraus, M.D.

James O. McNamara, M.D.

Eleanor S. McConnell, Ph.D., R.N.

Miriam C. Morey, Ph.D.

Tolu Oyesanya, PhD, MS

Kenneth Poss, PhD

Sherri Smith, AuD, PhD

Kathryn Starr, MS, RD, PhD

Anthony Sung, MD

Dennis A. Turner, M.D., M.A.

Purtushiothama Rao Tata, PhD

Gregory Taylor, PhD

Heather Whitson, MD

Tyson Brown, PhD

Matthew Dupre, PhD

Nicki Hastings, MD

Harold G. Koenig, M.D.

Scott Lynch, PhD

Amy Pastva, PhD

Carl Pieper, DrPH

Duncan Thomas, PhD

Anatoliy I. Yashin, PhD, ScD

Leah Zullig, PhD










NIH/NIA Postdoctoral Stipend Levels for Fiscal Year (FY) 2021

Career Level

Years of Experience

Stipend for FY 2021

Monthly Stipend






























7 or More



The program also provides health insurance for the fellow (using the University’s insurance plan), and partial travel support when you are presenting your research at a professional meeting. If the proposed research will require additional funding, this should be discussed with your mentor.

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