Data Science and Technology
The Marcus Institute is moving aging research forward by harnessing the power of big data.
Unique Expertise in Big Data Research and Clinical Trials Focusing on Older Adults
Contemporary research in aging requires the capture, visualization, analysis, and interpretation of large amounts of highly complex data. Researchers and staff throughout the Marcus Institute collaborate with biostatistics and data sciences faculty to design and conduct clinical trials and observational studies in aging.
This work occurs across a broad array of fields, united by an overarching mission to enhance and preserve the health and independence of older people. Our studies make use of information obtained from sources as disparate as direct research measurement, passive capture via wearable and implantable devices, and large administrative structures that include billing claims and environmental monitoring.
Technical Solutions for Data Analysis in Aging Research
Our research software development and informatics teams specialize in the creation of technical solutions for remote data capture, real-time quality control, data analysis, and dissemination of results. We collaborate with investigators around the nation and the world on novel research projects in:
- Gerontology and geroscience, with application to physical function and frailty
- Cognition and cognitive aging
- Genetics, genomics, and proteomics
- Health care delivery and policy
- Other areas relevant to the health of older adults
Our reach and reputation for quality gives us the power to advance aging research through today’s robust technology that connects efforts around the world.
Find current research projects
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Individualized CARE for Older Persons with Complex Chronic Conditions at Home and in Nursing Homes (I-CARE4OLD)
This EU-funded project aims to individualise healthcare for the ever growing group of older persons with chronic complex conditions. From 2021-2025, an international, multidisciplinary team of experts in healthcare and artificial intelligence are combining their specific insights; working with big, real world data acquired for over 30 years to develop a state-of-the art digital platform providing decision support for healthcare professionals treating this particular complex group of persons. The developed solution is expected to lead to improved treatments, enhancing the quality of life of older persons with chronic complex conditions and their relatives, the quality of care, and reduce the costs of care for society as a whole.
Adaptive Biologically-Controlled Home Environments to Promote Health in Older Adults
This research aims to provide proof-of-concept that environmental sensors (e.g. temperature, humidity, light, and sound) can be used to adjust ambient environments where people live, and thereby improve the health and function of older adults.
Applications of Claims-Based Frailty Index to Advance Evidence for Frailty-Guided Decision-Making
This research aims to generate evidence needed for frailty-guided clinical care and
population health management by applying a claims-based frailty index to routine health care databases, including patients with Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias.
Boston OAIC: A Translational Approach to Function Promoting Therapies
The Boston Older Americans Independence Center (Boston OAIC) is an interdisciplinary research network to foster translational research in function promoting therapies (FPTs) – pharmacologic, physical, nutritional, technological and behavioral interventions that reduce the burden of disabling functional limitations in older adults.
The overarching goal of the OAIC is to strengthen and expand our expertise and scientific resources in the areas of vascular biology, physiology, genetics, epidemiology, and biostatistics, in order to enhance our understanding of the vascular role in age-related physical and cognitive functional decline, design new interventions to ameliorate this decline, and train new investigators skilled in related areas of gerontologic research.
Dr. Lipsitz is a member of the Boston OAIC Leadership and Administrative Core (LAC). He also directs the Research Education Core (REC).
Dr. Kiel is a director of the Pilot and Exploratory Studies Core (PESC).
Dr. Travison is a director the Biostatistical Design and Analysis Core (BDAC).
Boston Roybal Center for Active Lifestyle Interventions Pilot Core
This Pilot Core will support a group of innovative and scientifically rigorous pilot studies each year that will enable the Boston Roybal Center to develop and test behavior change- strategies that promote healthy aging, especially for persons at high risk for poor health outcomes. The work of the Core will ultimately lead to interventions to achieve health-promoting behavior change in vulnerable, at-risk populations.
Cortical Mechanisms and Modulation of Foot Sole Tactile Sensation in Aging and Disease
This research aims to study whether increasing excitability of somatosensory brain networks using a noninvasive technology called transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is of great promise to augment foot sole sensation, and thus balance and mobility, in vulnerable older adults suffering from mild-to-moderate sensory impairments associated with type 2 Diabetes Mellitus.
Cortical Mechanisms and Modulation of Somatosensation in Older Adults with Foot Sole Somatosensory Impairments
This research aims to examine whether increasing excitability of brain cortical networks as activated by controlled walking-related foot stimulation using transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) can improve balance and mobility, in older adults suffering from mild-to-moderate foot sole somatosensory impairments.
Harvard Translational Research in Aging Program (T32)
The specific aims of this training program are: 1) to provide a 2-year training program in basic and clinical aging research for postdoctoral trainees, 2) to bring together scientists across a broad range of basic and clinical research through seminars, didactic sessions, shared laboratory experiences, and collaborative projects.
Healthy Aging Initiative
The Hebrew SeniorLife Healthy Aging Initiative is a longitudinal cohort study of older adults to identify biological and lifestyle predictors of lifelong health and well-being, as well as early biomarkers for disease, and enable development of interventions to promote healthy aging and add life to years.
The initiative leverages the expertise of all scientists at the Hinda and Arthur Marcus Institute for Aging Research.
The Healthy Aging Initiative aims to:
• Identify the factors and predictors of lifelong health and well-being
• Identify early biomarkers for disease and rate of aging
• Determine factors that modify the progression of disease
• Discover risks for specific illnesses
• Enable the development of interventions
• Ultimately expand the initiative to include a diverse population of older adults
The Healthy Aging Initiative will take place at all Hebrew SeniorLife housing sites in 2023 including Jack Satter House, Center Communities of Brookline, NewBridge on the Charles, Orchard Cove, and Simon C. Fireman Community. We will be rotating through all the sites in order to conduct Healthy Aging Initiative assessments in-person, at a location that is convenient for participants.