In support of the Wake Forest University School of Medicine's Claude Pepper Older Americans Independence Center (OAIC), the Pilot/Exploratory Studies Core (PESC) develops key information to select and design original and independently-funded studies that can advance our insight into the pathways that affect physical function.

The Pilot/Exploratory Studies Core solicits and selects, with the assistance of the joint scientific review panel, innovative and promising pilot and exploratory studies which address the OAIC research theme.

The PESC fosters pilot and exploratory studies by providing:

  • Infrastructure
  • Environment
  • Funding
  • Expertise/Mentoring

The core also promotes tight integration of pilot and exploratory studies with the resources available from other OAIC cores and throughout Wake Forest University. 

Recent Pilot Awards

  • "Epigenetics of an intensive lifestyle intervention: the Look AHEAD study." Lindsay Reynolds, PhD (Epidemiology and Prevention)
  • "Application of the Novel D3Cr Dilution Method to Better Understand Weight Loss Associated Changes in Muscle Mass and Physical Performance Among Older Adults with Obesity" Kristen Beavers, PhD (Health & Exercise Science)
  • "Development of a Nonhuman Primate Model of Age-Related Sleep Changes & Physical Decline" Carol Shively, PhD, Brett Frye, (Pathology/Comparative Medicine, Primate Center)
  • "Real-world monitoring of limb loading for bone preservation during weight loss" Ashley Weaver, PhD, Katherine Hsieh, PhD (Biomedical Engineering)
  • "MicroRNAs biomarkers and miRNA-gene networks associated with exercise-modulated weight loss" Genesio Karere, PhD (Internal Medicine)
  • "Isolation and molecular characterization of exosomes secreted by visceral adipose tissue" Gagan Deep, PhD (Cancer Biology)
  • "Is Restoring Protein Homeostasis A Viable Therapy For Age-Related Osteoarthritis?" Raghunatha Yammani, PhD (Internal Medicine, Molecular Medicine) 
  • “Relation of Senescent Cell Burden to Physiologic Function in Aging and HFpEF,” Jamie Justice, PhD and Tina Brinkley, PhD (Geriatrics)
  • “ASPIRE Pilot: A Study Promoting Critical Illness Recovery in the Elderly,” Rita Bahkru, MD (Pulmonary, Critical Care, Allergy and Immunological Sciences)
  • “Assessing the Relationship of Neurocognitive Dysfunction to Physical Disability and its Improvement with Caloric Restriction and Exercise Training in Older Patients with Heart Failure and Preserved Ejection Fraction,” Christina Hugenschmidt, PhD (Geriatrics)
  • Ignition Funding: “Mobility Assessment Using Surrogates,” Sunghye Kim, MD, Rheumatology