Pepper Center: Research Career Development Core

Pepper Center

The Research Career Development Core identifies, supports, and nurtures talented junior investigators who will become national leaders in aging research. The Core’s mentorship and curricular programs help junior investigators progress along the pathways that lead to high impact publications and grant funding that develops the scholar’s national reputation as a leader in their area.

Mentoring services, seminar series, and resource core services are also available to Associate Scholars whose goals are to develop careers in aging research. A particular focus of the Associate Scholars Program is junior faculty who have trained outside of geriatric medicine, but seek to incorporate Geriatric principles into their developing research program.

The Research Career Development Core also sponsors a diversity supplement program to increase the number of faculty members from underrepresented and diverse backgrounds conducting aging research at UCSF.

Core Leaders:

Louise Walter, MD

Kristine Yaffe, MD

Research Career Development Advanced Scholars

Sei Lee, MD, MAS
Associate Professor, Division of Geriatrics

Dr. Lee is a Geriatrician with an innovative focus on improving care of frail elders with diabetes. He has developed the hypothesis that frail elders, especially in nursing homes, are a vulnerable population at risk from overtreatment and the unintended consequences of disease guidelines. His focus is on identifying the risks and benefits of glycemic control in this vulnerable population.

Alex Smith, MD, MPH
Assistant Professor, Division of Geriatrics
UCSF Pepper Center Co-Director of Diversity

Dr. Smith is a Palliative Medicine physician and UCSF His research interest is to improve quality of life in elders with disability. RCDC program support and mentoring are directed at obtaining data and training that will lead to a R01 intervention study to improve quality of life in vulnerable disabled elders. His career plan will focus on further developing his understanding of disability and its measurement, and the principles underlying the design of successful Geriatric interventions.

Brie Williams, MD, MS
Associate Professor, Division of Geriatrics

Dr. Williams is a Geriatrician and NIA K23 awardee. Her work has examined health outcomes and the provision of health care in older prisoners. Her research has determined that cognitive impairment may be a crucial determinant of poor health outcomes in older prisoners. As an advanced scholar, she will collect preliminary data that proves she can administer cognitive instruments in the jail setting.

Rebecca photo

Rebecca Brown, MD
Assistant Professor, Division of Geriatrics

Dr. Brown’s research program focuses on how socio-economic disadvantage contributes to the early development of Geriatric problems, including ADL and IADL disability, cognitive impairment, and falls. She is using the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) to conduct a nationally representative study of the impact of poverty (as assessed by multiple SES measures) on the early development of these usually “Geriatric” problems. She plans a career that will consider the impact of a comprehensive model of social vulnerability. This model will extend her previous work on homelessness, extend her RCDC work on poverty, and also consider factors such as substance abuse, social isolation, and mental illness.

Ryan Greysen, MD
Assistant Clinical Professor, Division of Hospital Medicine

Dr. Greysen’s background in sociology and quality of care has convinced him that the disease focused approach to post-discharge care in hospital medicine needs to be complemented by a more patient-centered approach grounded in principles of Geriatrics. His central hypothesis is that poor post-discharge outcomes, like readmission, are highly driven by social vulnerability (such as limited social support and low SES) as well as the common failure to recognize common consequences of hospitalization, such as progressive disability and cognitive decline.


To learn more about the UCSF Pepper Center, please contact Pepper Center Coordinator, Sarah Garrigues