This is an application for a Mentored Research Scientist Development Award (K01). The goal of the proposed project is to provide the Applicant with the advanced skills needed to establish an independent program of research in cognitive aging using an integrative multi-modal neuroimaging approach to understanding age-related cognitive changes. The Applicant proposes a comprehensive training plan which combines didactic instruction with established researchers;formal coursework;participation in ongoing seminars at Columbia University;conduction of a prospective study and applied training experiences with individual advisors. Specific training goals include acquiring advanced knowledge and skill in the neurobiological mechanisms of cognitive aging: how aging impacts performance on cognitive tests of working memory and measures of cognition such as memory, processing speed and fluid ability. The training plan will be executed in coordination with an ongoing NIA-supported imaging study of cognition, learning and memory in aging (5R01AG026158) whose main goal is to explore changes in functional network recruitment when performance is challenged by task difficulty manipulation. This study does not address how underlying structural and resting blood flow patterns influence age-group functional or cognitive differences. Consequently, the study I am proposing will investigate the interrelations between age-related gray matter volume, resting cerebral blood flow, and functional activity. The goal of this study will be to assess whether resting blood flow and gray matter volume are independent or concomitant predictors of functional reorganization and to determine how changes in these measures mediate the relationship between age and cognition. The proposed project aims will therefore elucidate the interrelationships between multiple measures of neurobiological changes associated with aging and will serve as a bridge for the Applicant to establish an independent investigator career in conducting multi-modal neuroimaging studies in aging populations.

Public Health Relevance

Currently, many approaches (functional or structural neuroimaging, behavioral or neuropsychological testing) to aging research are performed independently thus diminishing their impact on understanding the overall effects of normal aging on the brain. The current research proposal integrates measures of neural activity (functional activations) and underlying brain structure (cerebral blood flow and brain tissue volume) to study their influences on the relationship between advancing age and decreased performance on cognitive tests.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Research Scientist Development Award - Research & Training (K01)
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Application #
Study Section
National Institute on Aging Initial Review Group (NIA)
Program Officer
Wagster, Molly V
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Columbia University (N.Y.)
Schools of Medicine
New York
United States
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Steffener, Jason; Habeck, Christian; O'Shea, Deirdre et al. (2016) Differences between chronological and brain age are related to education and self-reported physical activity. Neurobiol Aging 40:138-144
Steffener, Jason; Gazes, Yunglin; Habeck, Christian et al. (2016) The Indirect Effect of Age Group on Switch Costs via Gray Matter Volume and Task-Related Brain Activity. Front Aging Neurosci 8:162
Cines, Sarah; Farrell, Meagan; Steffener, Jason et al. (2015) Examining the Pathways Between Self-Awareness and Well-Being in Mild to Moderate Alzheimer Disease. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry 23:1297-1306
Steffener, Jason; Barulli, Daniel; Habeck, Christian et al. (2014) Neuroimaging explanations of age-related differences in task performance. Front Aging Neurosci 6:46
Razlighi, Qolamreza R; Habeck, Christian; Steffener, Jason et al. (2014) Unilateral disruptions in the default network with aging in native space. Brain Behav 4:143-57
Steffener, Jason; Barulli, Daniel; Habeck, Christian et al. (2014) The role of education and verbal abilities in altering the effect of age-related gray matter differences on cognition. PLoS One 9:e91196
Keator, D B; Helmer, K; Steffener, J et al. (2013) Towards structured sharing of raw and derived neuroimaging data across existing resources. Neuroimage 82:647-61
Steffener, Jason; Brickman, Adam M; Habeck, Christian G et al. (2013) Cerebral blood flow and gray matter volume covariance patterns of cognition in aging. Hum Brain Mapp 34:3267-79
Razlighi, Qolamreza R; Steffener, Jason; Habeck, Christian et al. (2013) Resting state inter and intra hemispheric human brain functional connectivity. Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc 2013:6522-5
Steffener, Jason; Stern, Yaakov (2012) Exploring the neural basis of cognitive reserve in aging. Biochim Biophys Acta 1822:467-73

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