New Era for Innovative Aging Research: A&M-Corpus Christi Faculty Awarded $16,000 in Start-up Funds

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – The Division of Research, Commercialization and Outreach (RCO) at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi recently awarded $16,000 in Innovative Aging Research Enhancement Grants to five teams that will research innovative practices and technologies that assist seniors in living more active and healthy lives.

This year, RCO focused on funding projects related to the Island University’s recent Innovative Aging Initiative that was established March 2017 with the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement with RJD Corpus Christi, LLC. The partnership will promote research and community engagement between the university and the affiliated senior living center.  

The Innovative Aging Initiative started as a collective effort to bring a new revolutionary senior living facility to the Coastal Bend that offers a unique living-lab environment. The facility will offer Islander students the opportunity to engage in multi-disciplinary research from nursing care to music therapy.

“In addition to the positive impact that this initiative will have on the health and economic development of the region, it will enable and create multi-disciplinary, inter-disciplinary, and trans-disciplinary research opportunities,” said Dr. Ahmed Mahdy, interim vice president for Research, Commercialization and Outreach. “It will also enrich a wide array of academic programs at A&M-Corpus Christi and partner institutions.”

The 2018 projects support 12 faculty along with many graduate and undergraduate students including:

  • “Wearable Robotic Modules (WeaR-M) for Maintaining Functional Fitness Levels for Older Adults,” Jose Baca, PI and assistant professor in the College of Science and Engineering (COSE), Dr. Luis Garcia Carrillo, assistant professor in COSE, Dr. Pablo Rangel, visiting assistant professor in COSE and Dr. Don Melrose, professor in the College of Education and Human Development (COEHD).
  • “An Elderly Fall Prediction System Based on Deep Recurrent Neural Networks,” Maryam Rahnemoonfar, PI and assistant professor in COSE and Dr. Elizabeth Sefcik, professor in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences (CONHS).
  • “Technology Adoption Patterns of Aging Adults for Better Aging Adults-Technology Interactions Development,” Byung Cheol (Bruce) Lee, PI and assistant professor COSE.
  • “Information Processing Deficiencies in Aging Adults: An Investigation to Aid Healthy Cognitive Aging,” Gina Glanc, PI and associate professor in the College of Liberal Arts (CLA), Dr. Miguel Moreno, associate professor in CLA, Dr. Steve Seidel, professor in CLA, Dr. Daniel Maitland, assistant professor in CLA, and Dr. Raquel Botello, assistant professor in CLA.  
  • “Networking and Collaboration Development: Learning and Understanding Elderly's Spatial-Temporal Activity Patterns in Senior Living Communities,” Yuxia “Lucy” Huang, PI and assistant professor in COSE; Dr. Meng Zhao, assistant professor in CONHS and Dr. Raquel Botello, assistant professor in CLA.

“With the increase in the aging population, smart aging technology is a strategic research focus for federal agencies and our faculty who have advanced expertise in developing this growing research area,” said Cynthia Lyle, RCO senior research development officer. “The quality of interdisciplinary, innovative aging research funded under this opportunity sets the bar for future collaborations that will span across college boundaries and faculty expertise.”

The five winning projects were selected by the Research Enhancement committee, which includes Dr. Connie Barker, professor in CONHS; Dr. Randy Bonnette, professor in the College of Education (COE); Dr. Changchit Chuleeporn, professor in College of Business (COB); Dr. Don Deis, professor in COB; Dr. Kamiar Kouzekanani, professor in COE; Dr. Christina Murphey, professor in CONHS; Dr. Sarah Scott, professor in CLA; Dr. Barbara Sczcerbinska, professor in COSE; Dr. Michael Sollitto, professor in CLA; Dr. Feiqin Xie, professor i