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USC Leonard Davis School PhD students in the Gerontology and Biology of Aging programs are some of the most promising minds in the science of aging. In this section, learn more about our doctoral students and program policies.

Student Resources

Course Catalogue

Schedule of Classes

Academic Calendar

Student Handbooks

Academic Advisement

Career Development

Research Opportunities

Finding Support

PhD Student Forms

A few notes regarding the Appointment/Change of Quals/Dissertation Committee forms:
  • The Post Code for the Biology of Aging PhD program is 1529.  The Post Code for the GERO PhD program is 1047.
  • In the Rank section, for Buck Institute faculty, you will add Adjunct in front of their normal title at the Buck Institute.  For example, Dr. Andersen would be listed as Adjunct Professor.
  • Under the Appointment Type, Buck Institute faculty are considered Non-Tenure Track (NTT).
  • For the Home Dept section, you may list Buck Faculty as USC GERO, like all GERO faculty.
  • Please read the instruction section at the top of the Committee form regarding committee composition, outside/external committee members, and instructions for changes of chair or other committee members.
  • You may use DocuSign to obtain the signatures from all your Committee members, including the Dean and PhD Chair. The Dean signature can be either Dr. Cohen or Maria Henke. The PhD Chair is Dr. Curran for the Biology of Aging PhD program and Dr. Jacobson for the GERO PhD program.
  • Questions regarding the Committee forms or access issues to send DocuSign forms can be addressed by Jim deVera (edevera@usc.edu).

PhD Student Handbooks

Academic Advisement

The USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology is committed to helping students build a vibrant, supportive academic, personal and professional network. The Office of Academic Advisement and Student Services provides services and resources related to academic advising, course planning, and registration as well as helping with any additional issues that students may have.

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Research Opportunities

The USC Leonard Davis School offers numerous opportunities for students in all programs to participate in research. Several broad areas of focus spark curiosity and collaboration in researchers at all levels, and their goal is to discover and perfect new breakthroughs, technologies, and findings that benefit older adults around the world.

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PhD Program Faculty

NameTitleExpertisePhD Program
Aaron Hagedorn, PhDAaron Hagedorn, PhDInstructional Associate Professor of Gerontology
Albert Almada, PhDAlbert Almada, PhDAssistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and Stem Cell Biology & Regenerative MedicineBiology of Aging
Alexis Coulourides Kogan, PhDAlexis Coulourides Kogan, PhDAssistant Professor of Family Medicine and Gerontology
Andrei Irimia, PhDAndrei Irimia, PhDAssociate Professor of Gerontology, Quantitative & Computational Biology, Biomedical Engineering and Neuroscience
Alzheimer's and dementia, Brain injury, Brain aging, Deep learningBiology of Aging, Gerontology
Anna Arabyan, PharmDAnna Arabyan, PharmDPharmacist
Adjunct Lecturer
Bérénice Benayoun, PhDBérénice Benayoun, PhDAssistant Professor of Gerontology, Biological Sciences, Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine

Big data, Sex differences, Immune functionBiology of Aging, Gerontology
Birgit Schilling, PhDBirgit Schilling, PhDAssociate Professor, Buck Institute for Research on Aging
Adjunct Associate Professor of Gerontology
Biology of Aging
Caleb Finch, PhDCaleb Finch, PhDUniversity Professor
ARCO/William F. Kieschnick Chair in the Neurobiology of Aging
Alzheimer's and dementia, Environment, BiologyBiology of Aging, Gerontology
Carol Prescott, PhDCarol Prescott, PhDProfessor Emerita of Psychology
Adjunct Professor of Gerontology
Caroline Cicero, PhD, MSW, MPLCaroline Cicero, PhD, MSW, MPLInstructional Associate Professor of GerontologyPolicy, Housing, Sociology
Cary Kreutzer, EdD, MPH, RD, FANDCary Kreutzer, EdD, MPH, RD, FANDInstructional Professor of Clinical Gerontology and PediatricsNutrition and diets, Nutrigenomics, Wellness
Changhan David Lee, PhDChanghan David Lee, PhDAssociate Professor of GerontologyMitochondria, Mechanisms of aging, Stress responseBiology of Aging, Gerontology
Christian Pike, PhDChristian Pike, PhDProfessor of Gerontology
Assistant Dean of Research
Alzheimer's and dementia, Neuroscience, Sex differencesBiology of Aging, Gerontology
Constanza Cortes, PhDConstanza Cortes, PhDAssistant Professor of GerontologyAlzheimer's and dementia, Resilience, Mechanisms of aging
Cristal M. Hill, PhDCristal M. Hill, PhDAssistant Professor of GerontologyNutrition/Metabolism, Mechanisms of aging, Nutrigenomics
Dana Goldman, PhDDana Goldman, PhDDean, USC Sol Price School of Public Policy and Professor of Gerontology
Daniel Nation, PhDDaniel Nation, PhDProfessor of Gerontology and Medicine
Merle H. Bensinger Professorship in Gerontology
Alzheimer's and dementia, Neuroscience, Brain aging
Daniel Winer, MDDaniel Winer, MDAssociate Professor, Buck Institute for Research on Aging

Adjunct Associate Professor of Gerontology
Biology of Aging
Deborah Fui-Yuen Hoe, PhDDeborah Fui-Yuen Hoe, PhDInstructional Assistant Professor for GerontologyEnd-of-life, Palliative care
Derrick Morton, PhDDerrick Morton, PhDAssistant Professor of Biological Sciences and Gerontology
DeWayne McMullin, CPA, MBA, MAGDeWayne McMullin, CPA, MBA, MAGPresident of New Life Development
Adjunct Lecturer
Doerte Junghaenel, PhDDoerte Junghaenel, PhDAssociate Professor (Research) of Psychology and Gerontology
Donna Benton, PhDDonna Benton, PhDResearch Associate Professor of Gerontology
Assistant Dean of Diversity and Inclusion
Alzheimer's and dementia, Caregiving, Long-term care
Duke Han, PhDDuke Han, PhDProfessor of Family Medicine and GerontologyAlzheimer's and dementia, Cognition, Financial well-being
Eileen Crimmins, PhDEileen Crimmins, PhDUniversity Professor
AARP Chair in Gerontology
Mortality and life expectancy, Demography, CognitionGerontology
Elizabeth Zelinski, PhDElizabeth Zelinski, PhDProfessor of Gerontology and PsychologyCognition, Memory, Technology
Emma Aguila, PhDEmma Aguila, PhDAssociate Professor of Economics and Gerontology
Enrique Cadenas, MD, PhDEnrique Cadenas, MD, PhDProfessor of Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Sciences and GerontologyBiology of Aging
Eric Verdin, MDEric Verdin, MDProfessor, Buck Institute for Research on Aging

Adjunct Professor of Gerontology
Biology of Aging
Francesca Falzarano, PhDFrancesca Falzarano, PhDAssistant Professor of GerontologyCaregiving, Alzheimer's and dementia, Technology
Gordon Lithgow, PhDGordon Lithgow, PhDProfessor, Buck Institute for Research on Aging

Adjunct Professor of Gerontology
Biology of Aging
Hiroshi Kumagai, PhDHiroshi Kumagai, PhDResearch Assistant Professor of GerontologyGenetics, Mitochondria, Biology
Irene Chiolo, PhDIrene Chiolo, PhDAssociate Professor of Biological Sciences and GerontologyBiology of Aging
Janette C. Brown, EdDJanette C. Brown, EdDAssistant Vice Provost, Emeriti Center
Adjunct Professor of Gerontology
Jennifer Ailshire, PhDJennifer Ailshire, PhDProfessor of Gerontology and Sociology
Associate Dean of Research
Associate Dean of International Programs and Global Initiatives
Environment, Social-determinants and disparities, Global agingGerontology
Jennifer Garrison, PhDJennifer Garrison, PhDAssistant Professor, Buck Institute for Research on Aging
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Gerontology
Biology of Aging
Joanna Davies, MDJoanna Davies, MDDirector of Osteoporosis Center of Los Angeles
Adjunct Professor of Gerontology
John Tower, PhDJohn Tower, PhDProfessor of Biological Sciences and GerontologyBiology of Aging
John Walsh, PhDJohn Walsh, PhDAssociate Professor of Gerontology
Associate Dean of Education
Chronic diseases, Neuroscience, BiologyBiology of Aging, Gerontology
Jonathan Matthew Wanagat, MD, PhDJonathan Matthew Wanagat, MD, PhDAdjunct Associate Clinical Professor of Gerontology
Joseph Saenz, PhDJoseph Saenz, PhDAdjunct Assistant Professor of GerontologySocial-determinants and disparities, Global aging, Alzheimer's and dementia
Julie Bates, PhDJulie Bates, PhDAssociate State Director for AARP
Adjunct Lecturer
LGBTQ older adults, Resilience, Optimal aging
Julie K. Andersen, PhDJulie K. Andersen, PhDProfessor, Buck Institute for Research on Aging
Adjunct Professor of Gerontology
Biology of Aging
Julie M. Zissimopoulos, PhDJulie M. Zissimopoulos, PhDProfessor of Economics and Gerontology
Junxiang Wan, MD, PhDJunxiang Wan, MD, PhDResearch Assistant Professor of Gerontology
Age-related diseases, Mitochondria, Longevity
Kai Zhou, PhDKai Zhou, PhDFellow, Buck Institute for Research on Aging

Adjunct Fellow of Gerontology
Biology of Aging
Kaoru Nashiro, PhDKaoru Nashiro, PhDResearch Associate Professor of GerontologyCognition, Neuroimaging, Emotional well-being
Kathleen Wilber, PhDKathleen Wilber, PhDProfessor of Gerontology
Mary Pickford Foundation Chair in Gerontology

Caregiving, Elder abuse, Long-term care
Kurt Hong MD, PhDKurt Hong MD, PhDClinical Professor of Medicine and Gerontology
Lauren Brown, PhDLauren Brown, PhDAssistant Professor of Gerontology
Edward L. Schneider, MD, Chair in Gerontological Research
Stress, Ethnic disparities, Biodemography
Lisa Ellerby, PhDLisa Ellerby, PhDProfessor, Buck Institute for Research on Aging

Adjunct Professor of Gerontology
Biology of Aging
Lucio Comai, PhDLucio Comai, PhDProfessor of Molecular Microbiology & Immunology and GerontologyBiology of Aging
Malene Hansen, PhDMalene Hansen, PhDProfessor, Buck Institute for Research on Aging
Adjunct Professor of Gerontology
Manuel AcevedoManuel AcevedoFounder and CEO, Helpful Village
Adjunct Lecturer
Technology, Big data, Caregiving
Marc Vermulst, PhDMarc Vermulst, PhDAssistant Professor of Gerontology, Molecular and Computational Biology, Biological Sciences and Biochemistry and Molecular MedicineMitochondria, Mutagenesis, TranscriptomicsBiology of Aging, Gerontology
María P. Aranda, PhDMaría P. Aranda, PhDAssociate Professor of Social Work and Gerontology
Marie-Therese Connolly, JDMarie-Therese Connolly, JDFormer Senior Scholar of United States Studies
Adjunct Professor of Gerontology
Michael A. Bonaguidi, PhDMichael A. Bonaguidi, PhDAssistant Professor of Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine and GerontologyBiology of Aging
Michael R. Lieber, MD, PhDMichael R. Lieber, MD, PhDProfessor of Pathology and GerontologyBiology of Aging
Michelle Keller, PhD, MPHMichelle Keller, PhD, MPHAssistant Professor of Gerontology
Leonard and Sophie Davis Early Career Endowed Chair in Minority Aging
Mireille Jacobson, PhDMireille Jacobson, PhDAssociate Professor of Gerontology
Assistant Dean of Academic Initiatives
Health economics, PolicyGerontology
Myron F. Goodman, PhDMyron F. Goodman, PhDProfessor of Molecular Biology and Chemistry and GerontologyBiology of Aging
Nicholas Graham, PhDNicholas Graham, PhDAssistant Professor of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science and GerontologyBiology of Aging
Nicolas Musi, MDNicolas Musi, MDAdjunct Clinical Professor of Gerontology
Pankaj Kapahi, PhDPankaj Kapahi, PhDProfessor, Buck Institute for Research on Aging

Adjunct Professor of Gerontology
Biology of Aging
Paul Nash, PhDPaul Nash, PhDInstructional Professor of GerontologyAgeism and intersectionality, HIV and aging, Stigma and discrimination
Pejmun Haghighi, PhDPejmun Haghighi, PhDProfessor, Buck Institute for Research on Aging
Adjunct Professor of Gerontology
Biology of Aging
Peter J. Mullen, PhDPeter J. Mullen, PhDAssistant Professor of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology and Gerontology
Piedad Suarez, DDSPiedad Suarez, DDSAssociate Professor of Clinical Dentistry and Gerontology
Pinchas Cohen, MDPinchas Cohen, MDDistinguished Professor of Gerontology, Medicine and Biological Sciences
Dean, USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology
William and Sylvia Kugel Dean’s Chair in Gerontology
Alzheimer's and dementia, Mitochondria, Technology, Personalized agingBiology of Aging, Gerontology
Rachel Brem, PhDRachel Brem, PhDAdjunct Associate Professor, UC Berkeley
Adjunct Associate Professor of Gerontology
Biology of Aging
Ralf Langen, PhDRalf Langen, PhDProfessor of Physiology & Neuroscience and GerontologyBiology of Aging
Raquel D. Arias, MDRaquel D. Arias, MDClinical Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology and GerontologyBiology of Aging
Renee Smith Maddox, PhDRenee Smith Maddox, PhDTeaching Professor of Social Work and Gerontology
Roberto Vicinanza, MD, PhDRoberto Vicinanza, MD, PhDInstructional Associate Professor of GerontologyAge-related diseases, Nutrition and metabolism, Mental health
Rong Lu, PhDRong Lu, PhDAssociate Professor of Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine and GerontologyBiology of Aging
Ryo Sanabria, PhDRyo Sanabria, PhDAssistant Professor of GerontologyStress response, Mechanisms of aging, Genetics
Sara E. Espinoza, MD, MScSara E. Espinoza, MD, MScAdjunct Clinical Professor of Gerontology
Scott Kaiser, MDScott Kaiser, MDDirector of Geriatric Cognitive Health, Pacific Neuroscience Institute
Adjunct Professor of Gerontology
Biology of Aging
Sean Curran, PhDSean Curran, PhDProfessor of Gerontology
Vice Dean
Dean of Faculty and Research
James E. Birren Chair in Gerontology
Biology, Genetics, Nutrition and dietsBiology of Aging, Gerontology
Sebastian Brandhorst, PhDSebastian Brandhorst, PhDResearch Associate Professor of GerontologyNutrition and diets, Translational research, Longevity
Simon Melov, PhDSimon Melov, PhDProfessor, Buck Institute for Research on Aging
Adjunct Professor of Gerontology
Biology of Aging
Stefan Schneider, PhDStefan Schneider, PhDProfessor (Research) of Psychology and Gerontology
Su-Jeong Kim, PhDSu-Jeong Kim, PhDSenior Scientist II
Adjunct Research Professor of Gerontology
Mitochondria, Neuroscience
Susan Enguídanos, PhD, MPHSusan Enguídanos, PhD, MPHAssociate Professor of GerontologyPalliative care, End-of-life, Ethnic disparitiesGerontology
Tameka Brown, MBA, MAGTameka Brown, MBA, MAGAdjunct Lecturer
Tara Tracy, PhDTara Tracy, PhDAssistant Professor, Buck Institute for Research on Aging

Adjunct Assistant Professor of Gerontology
Biology of Aging
Teal S. Eich, PhDTeal S. Eich, PhDAssistant Professor of Gerontology and PsychologyCognition, Memory, NeuroscienceGerontology
Valter Longo, PhDValter Longo, PhDProfessor of Gerontology and Biological Sciences
Edna M. Jones Chair in Gerontology
Fasting, Nutrition and diets, Chronic diseasesBiology of Aging, Gerontology
Yuri Jang, PhDYuri Jang, PhDProfessor of Social Work and Gerontology

Meet Our Current Students

Learn more about our current students in the PhD in Gerontology and Biology of Aging programs.

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Colloquium Series in Multidisciplinary Research on Aging

Students are expected to attend invited lectures by nationally and internationally recognized scholars in the field of aging. There are generally 5-6 lectures per semester given in this series.

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