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2023 Stein Institute's Jackuelyn Harris Award for Excellence in Aging Research

The Center for Healthy Aging and the Stein Institute’s Jackuelyn Harris Award for Excellence in Aging Research has been named in honor of Jackuelyn M. Harris, MD, whose young career was devoted to geriatric psychiatry and senior care. Dr. Harris was the very first fellow in the Division of Geriatric Psychiatry at UCSD and VA, went on to become the Co-Director of the program, which is the largest such program in the country today. This award recognizes a graduating student or students who has demonstrated special interest, dedication, and success in the field of aging research while maintaining genuine compassion and generous spirit with which Dr. Harris was so richly endowed.

Congratulations to this year's awardees, Julia
Yuan and Rekha NarasimhanJHarrisWinners2023

Julia Yuan's nomination letter from Dr. Alison Potok:

It is with immense pleasure that I write this letter in support of Julia Yuan’s nomination for The Center for Healthy Aging and Stein Institute’s Jackuelyn Harris Award for Excellence in Aging Research. Julia Yuan is an outstanding medical student and I cannot think of anyone more qualified to receive this award. I mentored Julia during her research elective. She worked on the Osteoporotic Fractures in Men (MrOS) study, and was interested in how markers of kidney function may inform on frailty, and whether muscle mass (defined by deurated creatine dilution) could account for this relationship. Julia was very engaged from the very first time I met her, when she was considering doing a research elective. She showed interest in geriatric research right away and was very excited to work on MrOS data. Julia was extremely efficient throughout her elective. I had made a timeline for her to follow, with some deadlines/milestones every few weeks throughout the elective, and Julia delivered her work much earlier than planned at every single step. She is one of the most efficient students I have ever worked with. Julia was a quick learner, and was very interested in learning more about aging. Julia contributed to study design. She quickly familiarized herself with the dataset. She ran the statistical analyses under my supervision. She put together tables and figures to illustrate the results. She was very keen on learning, asked intelligent and insightful questions when interpreting the results. Julia put together a power point with materials to present at our weekly nephrology research meeting. My colleagues investigators were quite impressed by her presentation. MrOS site PI, Dr. Ginsberg, then invited Julia to present her findings at the MrOS PI meeting which will take place in May. She wrote an abstract that was accepted at the National Kidney Foundation Spring meetings (April 2023, Austin, TX). Julia has also already drafted a manuscript that will soon be ready to be reviewed by our co-authors before submission. She also completed a geriatric clinical elective and was part of MSTAR. I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this award than Julia Yuan and I am delighted to nominate her for this award.

Rekha Narasimhan's nomination letter from Dr. Alison Moore:

I would like to nominate Rekha Narasimhan for this award. She has been taking a lead in conducting analyses of qualitative data for an ongoing project on cannabis use in older adults in my lab. In this role she has organized other student volunteers, succeeded in managing many challenges in the use of the qualitative analytic software and lead the coding efforts. In addition to this work, she has also worked on clinical research in rheumatology investigating the pathobiology of older-onset RA and PMR in older adults (>60). Her study used data from an observational cohort of 64 older adults with newly diagnosed arthritis and explored associations between serum eicosanoid concentrations (determined via mass spec) and clinical symptoms. She presented this work at the ACR Annual Meeting (2018) and published a paper entitled “Imbalance Between Omega-6 and Omega-3 Derived Bioactive Lipids in Arthritis in the Elderly” in the Journal of Gerontology. Her CV reveals that she has consistently engaged in research, much of it focused on older adults, and has demonstrated leadership in activities involving student wellness, mentorship and DEI. Given my experiences working with Rekha and her other contributions, I strongly believe she is an outstanding candidate for this award.

Congratulations to Julia and Rekha!