Our Faculty

The Center for Gerontology includes both core faculty members and affiliated faculty members.

gerontology faculty members
Core Faculty

Pamela Teaster Professor and Director, Center for Gerontology 203 Grove Lane 540-231-7657 pteaster@vt.edu
Karen Roberto University Distinguished Professor 230 Grove Lane 540-231-7657 kroberto@vt.edu
Rosemary Blieszner Alumni Distinguished Professor 266 Wallace Hall 540-231-6779 rmb@vt.edu
Nancy Brossoie
Research Associate
237 Wallace Hall
Laura Sands Professor 230 Grove Lane 540-231-9634 lsands@vt.edu
Tina Savla Associate Professor 205 Grove Lane 540-231-2348 jsavla@vt.edu


Faculty Affiliates

The Center for Gerontology has more than 60 faculty affiliates representing seven colleges and 28 departments or units across the university. In addition to serving as ambassadors for the center, faculty affiliates conduct independent and multidisciplinary research, supervise the work of students earning the Graduate Certificate in Gerontology, and provide research-based information to the Commonwealth of Virginia and beyond.


Position Name Research Area
Virginia Tech Foundation John E. Dooley, Ph.D Community Programs

Agriculture and Life Sciences

Department Name Research Area
Agricultural and Applied Economics Hyrum Smith, PhD, CFP(r), CPA Retirement planning
Animal and Poultry Sciences Edward J. Smith, Ph.D. Biology of Aging
Biochemistry David Bevan, Ph.D. Alzheimers and Parkinsons Disease
Biochemistry Bin Xu, Ph.D. Peptide hormone and molecular mechanisms underlying diabetes, obesity, and neurodegeneration diseases, including Alzheimer's disease
Dairy Science Katharine F. Knowlton, Ph.D. Osteoporosis/Bone Health (Animal Models)
Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise Brenda Davy, Ph.D Diet and Cardiovascular Diseases; Obesity and Body Weight Regulation; Dietary Intake Assessment
Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise Kevin Davy, Ph.D. Effects of atorvastatin treatment on blood pressure and autonomic function in middle-aged and older adults
Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise Madlyn Frisard, Ph. D. Exercise effects on age related alterations in mitochoncrial dynamics
Human, Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise Samantha M. Harden, Ph.D. Physical activity interventions
Human, Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise Matthew Hulver, Ph.D. Metabolism, Gaing, nutrition and physical activity
Human, Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise Carlin Rafie, PH.D. Adult Nutrition
Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise Eleanor D. Schlenker, Ph. D Nutrition and Aging
Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise Elena Serrano , Ph.D. Impact of Acculturation on Diet; Physical Activity and Body Image on Latinos Living in the U.S.
Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise Jay H. Williams, Ph.D. Muscle Strength (animal models)
Food Science and Technology Andrew Neilson, Ph.D. Developing and evaluating nutritional interventions for prevention of chronic diseases, specifically diabetes and obesity.


Department Name Research Area
School of Public and International Affairs Giselle Datz, Ph.D. Economic policy reform (Pension reform) with focus on Latin America
School of Architecture+Design, Industrial Design Brook Kennedy, Ph.D. Product design for an aging population
School of Architecture+Design James R. Jones, Ph.D. Retirement community/NH design for the elderly
School of Architecture+Design Joseph Wheeler, Ph.D.

Adaptable home design for the elderly


Department Name Research Area
Accounting and Information Systems France Belanger, Ph.D. Use of Mobile Technology by Older Adults
Accounting and Information Systems Steven D. Sheetz, Ph.D. Group Decision-Making; Data Collection Technologies
Hospitality and Tourism Management Muzaffer Uysal, Ph.D. Tourism and Aging

Center for Gerontology

Department Name Research Area
Center for Gerontology Nancy Brossoie, Ph.D. Vulnerable populations and communities; community programming
Center for Gerontology
Karen A. Roberto, Ph.D. Chronic illness; older women; health care decision-making; family gerontology; elder abuse
Center for Gerontology
Jyoti "Tina" Savla, Ph.D. Intergenerational relationships and family caregiving everyday life stressors and its effects on physical and psychological health and well-being pain management using complementary and alternative medicine
Center for Gerontology
Laura P. Sands, Ph.D. Risks and health consequences of functional limitations among older adults; health care outcomes among older adults who receive insufficient health care; the influence of resilience on health care use among older adults exposed to a disaster; risks for poor outcomes among older surgical patients
Center for Gerontology
Pamela Teaster, Ph.D. Elder abuse; ethics and aging; health care decision-making; public guardianship; public policy and aging

Natural Resources and Environment

Department Name Research Area
Geography Anamaria Bukvic, Ph.D. Relocation of Communities


Department Name Research Area
Computer Science Doug Bowman, Ph.D. Virtual Environments
Computer Science Denis Gracanin, Ph. D. System Development and Design for Older Adults
Industrial and Systems Engineering Maury A. Nussbaum, Ph.D. Mobility; Older Workers
Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics Robin Queen, Ph.D. Foot and Ankle Biomechanics; Joint Damage and Injury Prevention; Limb and Functional Decline
Mechanical Engineering Pablo A. Tarazaga, Ph.D. Smart Infrastructures; Falls Prevention
Computer Science Deborah Tatar, Ph.D. Technology and Aging
Industrial and Systems Engineering Eileen M. Van Aken, Ph.D. Health Care Systems

Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology

Department  Name Research Area
Director Benjamin Knapp, Ph.D.  Arts and Aging

Liberal Arts & Human Sciences

Department Name Research Area
Apparel, Housing, and Resource Management Julia Beamish, Ph.D. Housing
Apparel, Housing, and Resource Management JoAnn M. Emmel, Ph.D. Use of Household Equipment and Energy; General Housing Needs
Apparel, Housing, and Resource Management Patti Fisher, Ph.D. Economic Well-Being of the Elderly
Apparel, Housing, and Resource Management Rosemary C. Goss, Ph.D. Housing
Apparel, Housing, and Resource Management Eunju Hwang, Ph.D. Housing
Apparel, Housing, and Resource Management Ji-Hyun Kim, Ph.D. Older Adult Consumers and Quality of Life
Apparel, Housing, and Resource Management Irene Leech, Ph.D. Financial Planning Education
Communication James Ivory, Ph.D. Media Technologies and Older Populations
Educational Leadership and Policy Studies Kusum Singh, Ph.D. Statistics and Methodology
Foreign Languages and Literature Esther K. Bauer, Ph.D. Literary Renditions of Male Aging (Midlife cCrises)
Human Development and Family Science Katherine Allen, Ph.D. Family Gerontology; Diversity Issues
Human Development and Family Science Rosemary Blieszner, Ph.D. Family and Friend Relationships
Human Development and Family Science Isabel Bradburn, Ph.D. Attachment Across the Lifespan
Human Development and Family Science Megan Dolbin-Macnab, Ph.D. Grandparents Raising Grandchildren; Emotion Regulation
Human Development and Family Science April Few-Demo, Ph.D. Violence in Adulthood
Human Development and Family Science Shannon Jarrott, Ph.D. Intergenerational Relationships and Communities
Human Development and Family Science Kee Jeong Kim, Ph.D. Research methodologies; Longitudianal analysis
Human Development and Family Science Matthew Komelski , Ph.D. Optimal Aging; Mind-Body Practices; Gerontology Pedagogy
Human Development and Family Science Fred Piercy, Ph.D. Counseling Older Adults
Human Development and Family Science Cindy Smith, Ph.D. Interactions between Generations
Political Science Deborah Milly Elder Care Issues and Policies in Japan
Science and Technology in Society Doris T. Zallen, Ph.D. Ethical Issues
Sociology Toni M. Calasanti, Ph.D. Social Equity; Work and Retirement; Gender Issues
Sociology Jill Kiecolt, Ph.D. Parent-Child Relations; Aging and Mental and Physical Health
Sociology Neil King, Ph.D. Media, gender and aging
Sociology John Ryan, Ph.D. Community Solidarity; Social Policy, Marriage and Well-Being



Department Name Research Area
Biochemistry David Bevan, Ph.D. Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Disease
Biochemistry Glenda Gillaspy,Ph.D. Genes/Proteins and Their Role in Alzheimer's Disease
Biochemistry Bin Xu, Ph.D. Basic Cell, Proteins, and Crystallography Related to Alzheimer's Disease, as well as Heart Function
Psychology Eileen Anderson, Ed.D. Health Behavior
Psychology Martha A. Bell, Ph.D. Cognition and Aging
Psychology Kirby Deater-Deckard, Ph.D. Behavioral Genetics and Individual Differences
Psychology Rachel A. Diana, Ph.D. Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience of Human Memory
Psychology David W. Harrison, Ph.D. Strokes; Assessments
Psychology Jungmeen Kim, Ph.D. Psychological Well-Being Across the Lifespan; Lifespan Developmental Research Methodology
Psychology Richard A. Winett Health Behavior; Public Health; Nutrition; Exercise Training
Biochemistry Bin Xu  



Veterinary Medicine

Department Name Research Area
Population Health Sciences Kathy Hosig, Ph.D. Diabetes Research
Biomedical Science and Pathobiology Bradley G. Klein, Ph.D. Parkinson's Disease
Population Health Sciences Kerry J. Redican, Ph.D. Health Policy; Health Administration

Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute


Department Name Research Area
Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute Gregorio Valdez Neurons and Synaptic Interconnections in Neurodegenerative Diseases and Normal Aging

Virginia Tech Transportation Institute

Department Name Research Area
Center for Automotive Safety Research Jon Antin Aging Driver Safety