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We are Gerontologists, and Life is Our Work

USC Leonard Davis

We are Gerontologists, and Life is Our Work

Another year older, wiser, and better than ever—the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology is in its 42nd year as a world leader in the field of gerontology. Under Dean Cohen’s leadership the USC Leonard Davis School consistently remains at the forefront of research, service and education for improving the quality of life for older adults everywhere. For the first time in history, the aged will soon outnumber the young, a phenomenon true for nearly every country. This fact is changing the face of our planet. With the first wave of baby boomers approaching age 70 and millions more on their heels, this massive global demographic shift will impact every profession.

Did you know that between 2005-2050, the number of Americans aged 65 and older will more than double, growing from 37 million to more than 80 million? Never has the field of gerontology been more important or thrilling, and never have gerontologists been in more demand or their work more meaningful.

The USC Leonard Davis School “family” includes talented students who continue to distinguish themselves. Our students excel in a diverse range of studies ranging from biology and neuroscience to sociology, psychology, and public policy. More than half of our students receive merit-based scholarships to support their research and studies. These scholarships allow our students time and financial freedom to volunteer and intern in the field, paving the way for career success post-graduation.

To be a part of the Trojan Family is to understand that our collective community is part of why our university is a national leader in higher education. USC Leonard Davis School students and alumni actively serve our community. Our parents support a degree where bettering human lives is the central focus. Lastly, our visionary benefactors understand that aging is everyone’s business and, through cutting-edge research, our scientists, faculty, and graduates will discover possible cures, therapies, and solutions that will best serve humankind.

USC Leonard Davis continues to push our students to seek solutions for longevity and lifespan health and wellness. To do this, we continue to recruit top faculty that specialize in understanding age-related diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and cancer, in order to develop tools to better confront and perhaps prevent them. 

As a valued member of our Trojan Family, I am pleased to share new additions to our faculty— Dr. Bérénice Benayoun, Dr. Jessica Ho, and Dr. Andrei Irimia.

Bérénice Benayoun, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Gerontology

Dr. Benayoun explores the role of epigenetics—the ways that genes turn “off” or “on”—in the process of aging, and she hopes her findings could eventually help delay frailty and prolong healthy life. She is also very interested in understanding what makes aging different between females and males. Her goal is to eventually reduce the period of life where people are frail and physically diminished.

Read our latest article about Dr. Benayoun: New USC Davis School Assistant Professor Studies Possibility of Rejuvenating Genes

Jessica Ho, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Gerontology

Dr. Ho conducts research to understand why Americans live shorter lives, on average, than people living in other high-income countries. Her research explores how these various dimensions of U.S. life—from the extent of commuting and related car accidents to structural disadvantage, violence and the U.S. health care system—have impacted death rates and lifespans. She also studies the impacts of the drug overdose epidemic and whether it has had unanticipated impacts on seniors’ access to painkillers.

Read our latest article about Dr. Ho: Understanding What Shortens the American Lifespan

Andrei Irimia, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Gerontology

Dr. Irimia applies precision medicine and big data to better understand – and reduce – negative impacts of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) in older adults. He employs sophisticated neuroimaging techniques to understand the effects of brain injuries and improve the quality of life of sufferers, especially older adults. One of his goals is to give physicians the ability to send mild TBI patients home after an emergency room visit while still monitoring them remotely via easy-to-wear sensors.

Read our latest article about Dr. Irimia: Applying Precision Medicine and Big Data to Understand – and Reduce – Negative Impacts of Brain Injuries in Older Adults

Helping the most talented and motivated students achieve the dream of a USC education, regardless of their financial situation, has always been a priority of the Trojan Family. Together, we can make a lasting impact that will forever change the landscape for the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology. We ask our alumni, parents, and friends to support USC Leonard Davis with a gift today.

          Every gift, no matter the amount, makes a difference to our students and school.

                             Thank you for your continued and vital support! Fight On!