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Laboratory of Epidemiology & Population Science

Tamara B. Harris, MD, MSc, and Lenore J. Launer, PhD, Co-Chiefs

The goal of the research conducted in the Laboratory of Epidemiology and Population Science (LEPS) is to identify and test etiologic and predictive hypotheses about health conditions and aging in diverse populations. LEPS builds this science into large population based studies, with the overall goals to:

a. Study long-term exposures and subclinical disease indicators that increase the susceptibility to loss of cognitive and physical function and subsequent disability.
b. Identify biomarkers and other useful surrogates that are integrated measures of pathology and ‘disease.’
c. Identify life periods when exposures initiate or aggravate pathologies that increase the risk for loss of cognitive and physical function and disability.
d. Identify factors that precipitate crossing thresholds to clinical cognitive or physical disability and determine whether control of these factors decreases the risk for clinical events
e. Provide data from observational studies and clinical trials for use in translational research in experimental and public health settings.
f. Investigate the biology of health disparities in the context of aging
g. Disentangle the interaction between socioeconomic status and race in the development of age-associated health disparities.

LEPS’s mission also includes mentoring the next generation of leaders in the epidemiology of aging, health disparities and behavior. LEPS reaches these goals through research in 4 sections: Interdisciplinary Studies of Aging (Lead T. Harris), Neuroepidemiology (Lead L.J. Launer), Health Disparities Research (Lead M. Evans), Behavioral Epidemiology (Lead A. Zonderman).

List of Portfolio/Research Areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Biology of aging in diverse populations
  • Biomarkers
  • Cognitive function
  • Health Disparities
  • Physical function
  • Biologic risk factors for disease
  • Socio-economic risk factors for disease
  • Accelerometry
  • Brain imaging
  • Body composition imaging
  • Gene-environment interactions

Findings and Publications

Zonderman AB, Mode NA, Ejiogu N, Evans MK. Race and poverty status as a risk for overall mortality in community-dwelling middle-aged adults. JAMA Internal Medicine. 2016;176(9):1394-1395.

Marques EA, Elbejjani M, Gudnason V, Sigurdsson G, Lang T, Sigurdsson S, Aspelund T, Meirelles O, Siggeirsdottir K, Launer L, Eiriksdottir G, Harris TB. Proximal Femur Volumetric Bone Mineral Density and Mortality: 13 Years of Follow-up of the AGES-Reykjavik Study. J Bone Miner Res. 2017 Mar 9.

Launer LJ, Lewis CE, Schreiner PJ, Sidney S, Battapady H, Jacobs DR, Lim KO, D'Esposito M, Zhang Q, Reis J, Davatzikos C, Bryan RN. Vascular factors and multiple measures of early brain health: Vascular factors and multiple measures of early brain health: CARDIA brain MRI study.

Dluzen DF., Noren Hooten N., Zhang, Y., Kim, Y., Glover, F., Tajuddin, SM., Jacob, K., Zonderman, AB., Evans MK. Racial differences in microRNA and gene expression in hypertensive women. Scientific Reports 2016; 6, 35815.


Health Disparities Research Section
Behavioral Epidemiology Section
Neuroepidemiology Section
Interdisciplinary Studies of Aging Section

Laboratory of Epidemiology & Population Science Staff

Name Title Email
May BAYDOUN Staff Scientist
Gregory DORE Postdoctoral Fellow (IRTA)
Dana FAULCON Program Analyst
Jack GURALNIK Guest Researcher
Tamara HARRIS Medical Officer
Sharmin HOSSAIN Student IRTA - Summer
Armilda JIMENEZ Program Support Assistant (OA)
Lenore LAUNER Acting Laboratory Chief
Ola ROSTANT IRTA - Postdoc
Phyllis SCHAEFFER Editorial Assistant
Danielle SHAKED IRTA - Predoc
Rayven SIMMS Administrative Laboratory Manager
Angelina SUTIN Guest Reseacher
Megan WILLIAMS Pre-doctoral IRTA
Alan ZONDERMAN Section Chief