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

How has COVID-19 changed the SHAARP Lab?

April, 2020

Penn State University has moved all non-essential on campus activities to remote. Therefore, all Faculty, students and staff in the SHAARP Lab are working remotely at this time.

We have also suspended all lab visits for participants until it is deemed safe to resume. We are however, still available to answer any questions about the lab or on-going studies. If you have a question, please call (814) 865-4773.

Congratulations to our May 2020 graduates!

April, 2020

Congratulations to our graduating Research Assistants, Sara Bickhart, Nathanael Jiya, and Anabella Raika! We are proud of you and appreciate all of your contributions to the SHAARP Lab. We wish you the best in all of your future endeavors.

EFIT Study now recruiting!

April, 2020

The Everyday Function Intervention Trial (EFIT) is now open to recruitment! This study is open to men and women between the ages of 65 and 85. EFIT is a 6 month study investigating the use of cognitive training to improve everyday function in older adults. Please see the Projects/Current Projects tab on the main page of the SHAARP website for additional information. You can also call the SHAARP lab at (814) 865-4773.

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 has completed participant recruitment. Thank you to all of our participants! We will now be busy with data analysis.


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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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