People

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Email: gshannon@usc.edu

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George Shannon, MSG, PhD, is a Teaching Professor, Holder of the Kevin Xu Chair in Gerontology and Director of the Rongxiang Xu Regenerative Life Science Research Lab at the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology. He has taught 14 different courses at the Leonard Davis School, published seven peer-reviewed papers that investigated innovative ways to provide long-term care services to under-served older adults living in the community, in nursing homes and in assisted living, lectured at meetings and conferences in China and the U.S. and authored or co-authored 15 grant proposals and final reports to funding organizations, such as the California Healthcare Foundation, Kaiser-Permanente and the Motion Picture & Television Foundation. In addition, he has been an editor or reviewer for five top-rated Gerontology and Geriatrics Journals. Moreover, for 30 years he worked as an actor in Chicago, New York, Paris and Los Angeles, performing in theater, films and television. He studied with Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio in New York and Los Angeles and with Josephine Forsberg at Second City in Chicago.

sai-raj

Sai Raj-Kappari, PharmD, MSG

Senior Research Associate

Contact:

Email: kappari@usc.edu

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Sai Raj Kappari, PharmD, MSG, is a Senior Research Associate at the Rongxiang Xu Lab. Kappari studies program development and implementation, intergenerational relationships, life course perspective across all ages, older adult desire for generativity and contribution to society, employment for older adults, training young people to work with older adults, and innovative methods to improve the quality of life. Kappari is a co-author of Formulation development of deferasirox dispersible tablet, a book on how deferasirox is developed and its properties as it is used as a chelating agent in iron poisoning. Kappari received the young medical professional award for his volunteer work in Nepal during the 2015 earthquake. Prior to his current role, Kappari owned and operated a medical clinic and worked as primary healthcare provider in Rama Krishna Math, a charitable trust helping frail older adults, as Chief Medical Officer overseeing 4 retirement communities  and as a consultant and trainer in a multi-chain community pharmacy training over 100 community pharmacists in Hyderabad, India before moving to the United States. Kappari is the recipient of Prestigious Graham, Westcott and Davis Scholarships and received his Masters of Science in Gerontology from USC Davis School of Gerontology in December 2017 and Doctor of Pharmacy from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University in Hyderabad, India in 2012. Kappari has lived in a multilevel retirement community in Los Angeles for over two and a half years, and in his free time Kappari volunteers at the community and runs a bi-weekly positive psychology group for older adults ages 67 to 98. Kappari speaks fluent Telugu, Hindi, and English and enjoys cooking, hiking and taking care of his pet turtles.

Maureen Kellen-Taylor, PhD

Visiting Scholar

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Maureen Kellen-Taylor, PhD has 30+ years’ experience in Creativity and Aging. Through Regener8Create Consulting, she combines her skills in program design and implementation with advanced degrees in Learning and Change and Creative Arts Therapy for her work with organizations and individuals. Founding Director of the early pioneering organization Artworks at Mount Zion Hospital, San Francisco, she received 5 annual California Arts Council awards for developing and providing services to over 1000 isolated, homebound seniors each year, as well as to hospitalized patients. Past Chief Operating Officer for EngAGE for 14 years, Kellen-Taylor designed and developed innovative programs to address the whole person – from food to arts to intergenerational programs – in 32 affordable active aging apartment complexes in Southern California. Both EngAGE and Artworks have been nationally recognized and Maureen’s dedication to the Arts in California was also recognized with a California Arts Council Directors Award. She taught for 12 years in Quest Lifelong Learning programs for Chabot College Hayward, and team taught in the Bachelor of Arts Completion program at California Institute for Integral Studies. Kellen-Taylor earned a PhD in Learning and Change in Human Systems from the School of Transformative Learning at California Institute for Integral Studies for research in changing worldview. Her research for an MA in Creative Arts Therapy was on group work with chronically depressed psychiatric patients and was trained in the Arts in the UK. She continues to exhibit and sell her visual art work. Raised in Guyana, educated in UK and US, Kellen-Taylor has also lived in Seville, Spain, San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles.

Larisa Pilinsky

Program Facilitator

President of LarkGallery, Lark Larisa Pilinsky is an award winning artist, art curator, published poet and journalist. Born in the remote mountains of central Asia where her father was a geologist, Lark grew up in Ukraine and got her Masters degree in Industrial Design in Russia. Since 1985 she has left her mark on the art community by promoting both young and well-known artists, and by engaging in a wide range of educational, curatorial and fund-raising activities. The organizations she works with include Foundation for Global Harmony, where she is on the Board of Directors, California Litigation Magazine, where she is an Art Director, City of West Hollywood Department of Cultural Affairs, IGM USC and Phantom Art Galleries, where she serves as a volunteer art curator. Lark also is a meditator with 30 years experience and as an art and yoga instructor shares her unique knowledge in an intuitive – meditative way with children, adults and seniors. Her own artworks have been featured in more than 70 prestigious solo and group shows in the U.S., Russia, Armenia, Korea, Germany, France and Japan.

Guoxin Tao, PhD

Visiting Scholar

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Guoxin Tao, PhD, has a Bachelor of Science in Medicinal Chemistry from the Beijing Medical University School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, and a PhD from the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College. From 2002-2009 Tao was a postdoctoral research fellow at Harvard Medical School in the Department of Pathology where he participated in the design and evaluation of new antidepressant with respect to Eugenol, an active principle of Rhizoma acori graminei (RAG), a medicinal herb used in Asia for the treatment of symptoms reminiscent of Alzheimer’s disease. His study provided for the first time a scientific rationale for the traditional use of botanical RAG for the treatment of one of the most prevalent neuropsychiatric comorbidities of Alzheimer’s disease: depression. In addition, while working at Harvard, he designed and developed pharmaceutical agents for the treatment of alcohol abuse and dependence. Two Patents have been derived from this project. This study led to the finding of several potent lead candidates, which were further developed with the collaborator, CV Therapeutics Inc. Finally, compound CVT- 10216 was found to reduce drinking and prevent relapse in preclinical rodent models, as well as in other drug addiction models. Compound CVT-10216 was selected as the candidate for clinical study. In 2010 and 2011, he was a senior scientist and scientific assistant to the Chairman of the Board of Beijing Rongxiang Institute of Regenerative Medicine, researching and developing in situ regenerative medicine. He is currently, a senior research scientist at Skingenix, investigating the action mechanism of an innovative herbal wound ointment in the regenerative treatment of various wounds.