T32 Aging Research Fellowship

t32 fellow

The UCSF Division of Geriatrics is a national leader in aging research and offers premier training opportunities for physicians, other health professionals, and post-doctoral candidates interested in careers involving aging research.

Our Mission

We aim to be the nation's premier training program in aging research. Our program is distinguished by the combination of superb didactic experiences in UCSF’s renowned Advanced Training in Clinical Research program and world-class mentoring from leading faculty in our division. We place a priority on having fellows demonstrate early academic productivity, such as presentations at major national meetings and publications in high-profile journals, which will make them highly sought-after by the completion of fellowship. Many former fellows have gone on to highly successful careers in academia.

Examples of our former fellows include:

Louise Walter, MD (1999-2001)

Current Position: Professor of Medicine and Chief, UCSF Division of Geriatrics

Other accomplishments: International leader in cancer screening for older adults

John Newman MD, PhD (2011-13)

Current Position: Assistant Professor of Medicine, UCSF Division of Geriatrics

Other accomplishments: Rising star in translational research on biology of aging; recipient of prestigious NIA Beeson Career Development Award

Meredith Greene, MD (2013-15)

Current Position: Assistant Professor of Medicine, UCSF Division of Geriatrics

Other accomplishments: Emerging national expert in care of older HIV-infected adults; spearheading innovative programs at UCSF targeted at this population.

Victoria Tang, MD (2013-16)

Current Position: Assistant Professor of Medicine, UCSF Division of Geriatrics

Other accomplishments: Emerging national expert in the surgical and hospital care of older adults; “pre-hab” clinic to optimize older adults before surgery

Melisa Wong, MD (2015-2017)

Current Position:  Assistant Professor of Medicine, UCSF Division of Hematology Oncology

Other accomplishments: National leader in geriatric outcomes of cancer-directed therapy including impact on function and life-space.



Overall Structure of Fellowship

Mentored research and formal didactic training are the cornerstones of the research. In addition, fellows enjoy access to a range of conferences and resources that further enhance the training experience.  These include twice monthly aging research fellow focused works-in-progress sessions, monthly fellows forum session devoted to aging research didactics and professional development, and Career Fest, a half day session devoted to the nuts and bolts of finding a job.


The Division of Geriatrics takes mentorship very seriously, and considers it the central element of fellowship training. Research fellowship director Dr. Alex Smith, Associate Directors Drs. Krista Harrison and Ashwin Kotwal, along with senior research faculty Drs. Kenneth Covinsky, Louise Walter, Mike Steinman, Sei Lee, Rebecca Sudore personally mentor many of the research fellows. These and other division faculty are widely regarded as superb mentors and have been recognized with multiple local and national mentoring awards. In addition, a number of faculty outside the Division of Geriatrics work closely with our group and are available for mentorship and research collaboration.

Didactic Training

Fellows enroll in UCSF’s Advanced Training in Clinical Research (ATCR) program, an intensive year-long course on research methods for fellows and junior faculty across UCSF pursuing careers in clinical, epidemiologic, and health services research. Fellows may extend their studies for a second year and obtain a master's degree in clinical research. Coursework includes classes on epidemiologic methods, introductory statistical analysis, advanced statistical methods, statistical computing, clinical trials, database management systems, systematic reviews and meta-analysis, publishing and presenting clinical research, and an ongoing seminar. Additional elective courses are available in decision and cost-effectiveness analysis, medical informatics, clinical research with diverse communities, and outcomes research. For more information, please visit the ATCR website.

Local and National Conferences

Division of Geriatrics Works-in-Progress (WIP) Conferences

This weekly conference provides a venue for faculty and fellows to present ongoing academic work to the entire division. Both educators and researchers are encouraged to present their projects. Research manuscripts and grants, quality improvement projects and educational evaluations are all common topics at our WIPs.  T32 fellows additionally attend a fellows-only WIP session twice monthly.  This smaller group allows for greater fellow-level peer mentoring than the larger Division WIP.

National Conferences

All research fellows are strongly encouraged to present their work at national conferences starting in the first year of fellowship. The most attended meetings include the annual meetings of the American Geriatrics Society, the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, and the Society of General Internal Medicine.

Other Resources

Research trainees have access to on-site biostatistical support, computer and database support, and a core analytic laboratory, providing extensive resources to support research.

Closely Affiliated Research Faculty

Please click on the below links or browse our research faculty page to learn more about our research faculty and their interests.

  • Louise Walter, MD - Chief, UCSF Division of Geriatrics
  • W. John Boscardin, PhD - Professor of Medicine in Geriatrics, Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics
  • Kenneth Covinsky, MD, MPH -Professor of Medicine in Geriatrics
  • Sei Lee, MD - Professor of Medicine in Geriatrics
  • Alex Smith, MD - Professor of Medicine in Geriatrics
  • Michael Steinman, MD - Professor of Medicine in Geriatrics
  • Rebecca Sudore, MD - Professor of Medicine in Geriatrics
  • Deborah Barnes, PhD, MPH - Professor of Psychiatry
  • Kristine Yaffe, MD - Professor of Neurology, Psychiatry and Epidemiology
  • John Newman, MD, PhD - Associate Professor of Medicine in Geriatrics
  • Ashwin Kotwal, MD, MS - Assistant Professor, UCSF Division of Geriatrics
  • Krista Harrison, PhD - Assistant Professor of Medicine
  • Victoria Tang, MD, MAS - Assistant Professor of Medicine
  • Meredith Greene, MD - Assistant Professor of Medicine
  • Melisa Wong, MD, MAS - Assistant Professor of Medicine
  • Theresa Allison, MD, PhD - Professor of Medicine
  • Lauren Hunt, PhD, RN, FNP - Assistant Professor, Physiological Nursing
  • Elizabeth Whitlock, MD - Assistant Professor of Anesthesia

Which Research Fellowship Track is Right for Me, T32 or VAQS?

A variety of research tracks and funding mechanisms are available, but the core experience of research fellows in each of these pathways is largely the same. Applicants interested in research are encouraged to discuss these options with the research fellowship director Alex Smith to determine which track is best suited for that candidate's needs. Similarly, candidates with an interest in health care improvement leadership are encouraged to contact the Quality Scholars Directors Drs. Jessica Eng and Sei Lee. Although the research focus of the Division is on clinical epidemiology and health services research, the Division has also nurtured successful fellows in the basic sciences.

UCSF T32 Aging Research Fellowship Program

VA National Quality Scholars Program

Contact Information

Alex Smith, MD, MS, MPH
Co-Director, UCSF Aging Research Fellowship Program
[email protected]

Ashwin Kotwal, MD, MS
Associate Director, UCSF Aging Research Fellowship Program
[email protected]

Krista Harrison, PhD
Associate Director, UCSF Aging Research Fellowship Program
[email protected]

Elaine Chow
Education Programs Specialist
[email protected]