Welcome to the Study of Healthy Aging and Applied Research Programs (SHAARP) Lab!

SHAARP Lab Group photo for Fall 2019


The SHAARP Lab studies factors that keep older adults independent and mobile. We focus primarily on cognitive and functional abilities that may be modifiable through targeted interventions. Members of this lab have diverse backgrounds and interests (such as gerontology, human factors, neuropsychological assessment, neuroscience), and this is reflected in the variety of approaches we take to study the aging process. Currently we examining the impact of various cognitive and exercise intervention programs on cognitive, physical, and health outcomes in older adults. We are also particularly interested in the real-world implications of our findings. For example, how does the intervention translate into improvements in older adults' ability to carry out the activities of their daily lives? We hope that you will visit our page often for updates and find the provided information and links useful.

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From left to right: Alana Peng, Briana Sprague, Joanne Tian, Sara Troutman, Sara Bickhart, Amber Hurlock, Dr. Lesley Ross, Michelle Huerbin, Sara Freed, Nathanael Jiya 


Lab News

Recent Press

August 2019

SHAARP welcomes our new postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Erica O'Brien, to Penn State. Dr. O'Brien is part of the Center for Healthy Aging T32 training grant. Please see more about Dr. O'Brien under 'People'. We are excited to have her join the team!

August 2019

The Feasibility and Enjoyment of Exergames (FLEX) study is now recruiting adults 65 and older! Please see our 'contact us' page for more information or call us call us at (814) 865-4773. We look forward to hearing from you!

Lab Alum Christy Phillips Accepts VP of Resident Engagement Position

May 2019

Christy Phillips, PhD will be joining Atria Senior Living, Inc. as Vice President, Resident Engagement. Dr. Phillips, who was a postdoctoral scholar in the lab from 2014 to 2016, will be responsible for overseeing Engage Life events programing in her new position. You can view her full bio in our Alumni page.

Introducing: Dr. Briana Sprague

March 2019

On February 22nd Briana successfully defended her dissertation, "Associations Between Physical and Cognitive Function in Healthy Older Adults." She will graduate in May 2019 with a PhD in Human Development and Family Studies.

Briana has accepted a postdoctoral fellowship at the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh, where she will join the T32 Population Neuroscience of Aging and Alzheimer's disease program.

Paper Accepted

February 2019

Our paper, "Older adult lifespace varies by driving status and residential population density," was just accepted to the Transportation Research Record, a journal of the Transportation Research Board. Congrats to Dr. Phillips, Sara Freed, and Dr. Ross!


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February 2019

Penn State Larson Transportation Institute

Study Suggests How Brain Exercise Gains Transfer to Daily Life

May 2018

Posit Science PR Team

LTI faculty affiliate Lesley Ross to chair TRB Committee on Safe Mobility of Older Persons

April 2018

By Danica Laub

Larson Transportation Institute

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