Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center: Research - North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System
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North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System

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Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center: Research

Research Mission Statement

To develop an interdisciplinary and dynamic research program that spans public health, social, health services, behavioral, clinical and basic sciences. Our research focuses on mechanisms, etiology, prevention and rehabilitation of cognitive and physical disability. We also focus on maximizing the health-related quality of life of older adults with disability and prevention of secondary disabilities.

Christy S. Carter, Ph.D.
Associate Director for Research


Basic Science

Christy S. Carter, Ph.D.

Dr. Carter is Associate Director for Research at the GRECC and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Aging and Geriatric Research at the University of Florida.  Her professional interests broadly include translational models of declining physical and cognitive performance. More specifically, she investigates the contribution of age-related increase in adiposity to declining muscle and physical functioning.  She currently tests a variety of interventions in the reversal of this process including the role of the renin-angiotensin system, diet and exercise, and the development of novel gene therapies. A recent interest is the contribution of chronic pain in aging to disability.

Nihal Tumer, Ph.D.

Dr. Tumer is an Investigator at the GRECC and Professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics at the University of Florida.  Sympathetic nervous system activity and blood pressure increase with age, and this elevated blood pressure is a major contributor to cardiovascular diseases in the elderly.  Dr. Tumer is examing the role of oxidative stress in age-related sympathetic nervous activation and blood pressure elevation. Oxidative stress has been implicated in the aging process in various tissues including the central nervous system due to an imbalance between production and elimination of free radicals. The second focus of Dr. Tumer involves interventions to increase physical activity levels in aged rats.  With age there is both an increase in adiposity and a decrease in physical activity.  Moreover, physical activity decreases with increasing body weight independent of age, and decreases in physical activity lead to obesity; thus age, obesity and physical activity are interlinked

Clinical Science

Stephen E. Borst, Ph.D.

Dr. Borst is an Associate Professor in the Department of Applied Physiology & Kinesiology at the University of Florida. The main interests of his laboratory are the mechanisms of testosterone-induced anabolic effects and the development of safe strategies for treating sarcopenia.  A second, clinical project involves testing higher-than-replacement doses of testosterone combined with finasteride as a strategy for treatment of sarcopenia in older hypogonadal men.  His laboratory is also investigating the potential pathological roles played by tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF), resistin, interleukins and visceral fat mass in the development of insulin resistance.  Interventions include systemic neutralization of TNF, pharmacological suppression of cytokine synthesis and surgical removal of adipose tissue.

Lew Radonovich, M.D.

Lewis J. Radonovich, MD, is the Director of Biosecurity Programs at the Office of    Program Development and an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Florida.  Dr. Radonovich is leading several biosecurity projects, including a series of projects that aim to understand how influenza is transmitted among humans and whether influenza transmission may be prevented by using upper-room ultraviolet light in the nursing home setting.  He is also working in collaboration with the Emerging Pathogens Institute at the University of Florida to assess and geographically map influenza and other respiratory disease outbreaks in VISN 8.  He has recently completed a series of studies that have assessed healthcare worker tolerance of personal respirators and is leading a federal interagency working group called Project BREATHE that will determine the ideal characteristics for respirators in healthcare workers.  Project BREATHE is a multi-phase, multi-year project that aims to bring one or more new respirators to the global marketplace.


Leslie Gonzalez Rothi, Ph.D.

Dr. Gonzalez Rothi is Program Director of the VA RR&D Brain Rehabilitation Research Center, a VA Research Career Scientist, and holds the Bob Paul Family Professorship in the Department of Neurology at the University of Florida.  For the last 25 years, Dr. Gonzalez Rothi’s research has focused on understanding the brain organization of spoken language, reading, spelling, memory, attention/intention, gesture and tool use and more recently her focus has grown to include studies of the treatment of disorders of these systems using experiential and physiologic treatment combinations.

Steve Nadeau, M.D.

Dr. Nadeau is a Staff Neurologist in the GRECC, Medical Director of the VA RR&D Brain Rehabilitation Research Center, and Professor in the Department of Neurology at the University of Florida.  Dr. Nadeau’s major research is in two areas: the use of adjuvants to neuroplasticity in neurorehabilitation, and cerebral mechanisms underlying language function and language rehabilitation.  He is currently testing a fundamental revision of longstanding conceptualizations of language topography in the brain through experiments in aphasic patients and patients with Alzheimer’s disease and semantic dementia involving proper noun naming.


Health Services

Miho Bautista, M.D.

Dr.  Bautista is an Assistant Professor with the Department of Aging and Geriatric Research in the College of Medicine and Staff Physician with the GRECC at the Malcom Randall VA Medical Center.  Dr. Bautista’s research interest includes improving health outcomes of older patients with chronic disease through effective patient-clinician communication. Her current research study involves determining the effect of health literacy – one’s ability to understand, process and apply health information – on chronic pain among older patients with osteoarthritis.

Rebecca Beyth, M.D., M.Sc.

Dr. Beyth is Associate Professor of Medicine and Chief, Division of Career Development and Education Department of Aging and Geriatric ResearchCollege of Medicine, and an Affiliate Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics in the College of Public Health and Health Professions at the University of Florida. She is also an investigator at the VA Rehabilitation Outcomes Research Center  at the Malcom Randall VA Medical Center. Dr. Beyth's research interests include improving outcomes for older patients with chronic diseases, patient-physician interactions in clinical decision-making, and prevention of disability through primary and secondary prevention.

Colleen Campbell, ARNP, M.S.

Colleen Campbell is the Geriatric Evaluation and Management program director.  Her clinical interests centers on the interface of acute care medicine and geriatric rehabilitation and graduate and post graduate medical education.  A second clinical interest the application of patient/family centered care, the model of care for the 21st century.

Ron Shorr, M.D., M.S.

Dr. Shorr is the Director of the Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center (GRECC), Malcom Randall Veterans Affairs Medical Center, North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System, all in Gainesville, FL.  He also serves as a Professor in the Department of Aging and Geriatric Research, at the University of Florida.  Dr. Shorr’s research interests include the appropriate use, and adverse effects of medications in older adults.

Constance Uphold, ARNP, Ph.D.

Dr. Uphold is a Research Associate Professor in the College of Nursing and the Department of Aging and Geriatric Research in the College of Medicine and a Courtesy Professor in the Department of Health Services Research, Management, and Policy, College of Public Health and Health Professions at the University of Florida. Her current work involves disseminating disease prevention and informational materials through direct-to-consumer implementation strategies and web-based education programs designed to improve quality of health care and quality of life for veterans and their caregivers.

Leslye Pennypacker, M.D.

Dr. Leslye Pennypacker is Clinical Assistant Professor in the Division of Internal Medicine at the University of Florida and Geriatrician – Geriatrics and Extended Care at the Malcom Randall VA Medical Center, Gainesville, FL. In addition, Dr. Pennypacker was instrumental in the creation of the Palliative Care Consult Team, consisting of herself, a nurse practitioner and a social worker, at the VA as part of the VA's national initiative in end-of-life and palliative care issues. The VA has also recently opened a Palliative Care Bed unit which strives to provide seamless palliative care between in-patient and home patients.

Additional Resources:

GRECC Service Pages


GRECC Internal Links

Geriatrics and Extended Care Service
Geriatric Evaluation and Management