Current studies:

  • Heart Rate Biofeedback Study:  This study is investigating whether heart rate biofeedback helps to improve functioning of cardiovascular control systems that help regulate emotions, improves well-being and reduces stress, anxiety, and depressed feelings.  For details and to sign up:
  • Emotion & Attention Brain Imaging Study:  The purpose of the study is to better understand the role of the locus coeruleus in cognitive and emotional function in healthy aging and Alzheimer’s disease. The locus coeruleus is a small brainstem region that is involved in responses to stress and emotion and related to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • The Effects of Lifetime Stress on Cognitive Aging Study (LSA Study):  This study is examining racial disparities in cognitive aging among individuals with HIV infection. We will address the gaps in the current stress and disparities literature by examining how recent stress exposure is associated with changes in inflammation and cognitive/brain outcomes.
  • Neuroimaging of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury in Human Subjects:  Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI, also known as a concussion) is an insufficiently-understood condition which can substantially affect life expectancy and quality. The objective of this study is to understand how mTBI affects the structure and function of the adult human brain.
  • Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI):  The purpose of this research study is to study the effects of transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) on the human brain using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). Although many studies have demonstrated the efficacy of tDCS in stroke rehabilitation, pain relief and depression; the central mechanism of tDCS remains unclear. This study attempts to address this question by utilizing MRI to take pictures of the brain concurrently with the application of tDCS.
  • Vascular Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) in the Human Brain:  Recent developments in Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) techniques allow us to better study blood vessels and blood flow in the brain, both in healthy subjects and patients with vascular disorders in the brain. The goal of this study is to evaluate these novel quantitative MRI methods for characterizing and visualizing brain vasculature without the need for contrast agent injection.
  • Robotics Study:  This study investigates how a Socially Assistive Robot can help people form a habit of walking regularly. The study occurs in the homes of participants over four weeks and involves frequent brief interactions with the robot during two of those weeks.
  • All of Us Study:  Researchers at USC are working on a historic NIH-funded study called “All of Us” that hopes to enroll one million participants. The purpose of the study is to collect data that will accelerate research and improve health over time. For more information, email, or call or text “AOU” to 323-572-5740.
  • Vasc Study:  Are you or someone you know 55 years or older? The Vascular Senescence and Cognition (VaSC) Lab is conducting a study of health and aging on cognition. If interested, contact 213-821-3120 or
  • Emotion & MRI Study:  The Emotion & Cognition Lab is looking for adults 60 years and older to participate in a brain imaging study examining how emotional responses influence memory and brain function. The study involves a one-hour MRI brain scan and completion of some memory tasks. If interested, please email for more information.
  • Muscle Exertion & Digits Study: The Emotion & Cognition Lab is looking for adults between the ages of 65 and 85 to participate in a study examining how muscle exertion affects cognitive function. Half of participants will repeatedly squeeze a therapy ball in each hand. All participants will then perform a task in which they hear digits and make responses about them. The study lasts 1.5 hours and involves several physiological measurements and computer-based tasks. If interested, please email for more information.

Our research groups are investigating what can be done to maintain healthy minds and bodies as we age, such as the studies listed on this page. Would you like to help?