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Centre for Education and Research on Ageing Research

The Centre for Education and Research on Ageing (CERA) and its members undertake basic science, epidemiological and clinical research.

CERA is part of the Department of Geriatric Medicine at Concord Hospital. CERA is a multidisciplinary hub to foster collaboration between clinical and academic health professionals and facilitate the translation of research findings into clinical practice. The research objectives of CERA are:

  • To improve the health and productivity of older people through research into the ageing process
  • To improve the well-being and quality of life of older people, especially those with frailty or dementia, through research into health care
  • To provide leadership in the education and training of people involved in the care of older people and those involved in ageing research.

Our current research programs include:

  • Oral Health
  • Ageing liver and nanomedicines
  • Novel mechanisms for dementia
  • Surgical liaison and older people in hospital
  • Advanced care directives
  • Polypharmacy and deprescribing
  • Identification and management of delirium in older inpatients
  • Falls prevention in hospital
  • Geriatric Medicine Services in Australia and New Zealand
  • Emergency Hospital in the Home.

Our Key Achievements

The Biogerontology group continues to explore the targeted use of medicines and other therapeutics. The group is collaborating with the Institut d'Investigacions Biomèdiques in Barcelona in the use of our nanotechnology for microRNA delivery for the prevention of liver failure.
Dr Nicholas Hunt has been awarded a SOAR fellowship through the University of Sydney and has published key findings in ACS Nano using our nanotechnology platform.
CERA led a study on the teaching of Geriatric medicine at medical schools in Australia. This data was provided to the Royal Commission into Aged care Quality and Safety who were interested in knowing more about this study. CERA members also contributed submissions.
A new perioperative model of care has been adopted by the Sydney Local Health District based on research conducted by CERA PhD students Dr Sarah Aitken and Dr Janani Thillainadesan.
COVID-19: Numerous CERA members had key advisory roles during the height of the COVID-19 epidemic, through participation in various National / State / Local taskforces and advisory bodies.
Dr Janani Thillainadesan awarded ANZSGM Career Investigator Prize and UK Age Anaesthesia Association Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM) Best Oral Presentation Prize in 2021.
Deborah Cockrell has been appointed a Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia for her significant service to dentistry, profession organisation and to education.
CERA/Geriatric Medicine Outreach-OHT, Integrating Oral Health in Residential Care Program won both the SLHD 2018 Quality Award in the "Delivering Integrated Care" Category and the 2018 Chairman's Award.
Nicholas Hunt was awarded the "Distinction in Scholarship" by the American Journal of Physiology for his publication in the journal.
PhD students submitted and/or graduated: Janani Thillainadesan, Sarah Aitken. Jennifer Gibney, Naomi Noguchi, Devin Wahl, Rahul Gokarn, Sun Woo Sophie Kan.
Current Masters (MPhil) students: Dr Eleni Azarias, Dr Atul Wagh, Dr Bethany Stavert, Dr Joshua Makary.
Sachiko Takehara received the Endeavour Fellowship from Japan to collaborate with Oral Health Programme and CHAMP.

Our Research Team

CERA Co-Directors

Professor Vasi Naganathan Professor of Geriatric Medicine, University of Sydney and Consultant Geriatrician, Concord Hospital
Professor Victoria Cogger Associate Dean (Research Education), The University of Sydney / Co-leader Biogerontology laboratory

Department of Geriatric Medicine, Concord Hospital

Professor Vasi Naganathan Consultant Geriatrician
Professor David Le Couteur Senior Staff Specialist in Geriatric Medicine and Professor of Geriatric Medicine, The University of Sydney

Clinical Associate Professor John Cullen


Stream Director Sydney Local Health District Aged Health Care, Rehabilitation, General Medicine, Chronic Care, Disability, Endocrinology, Andrology and Ambulatory Care

Clinical Associate Professor, Concord Clinical School, The University of Sydney

Clinical Associate Professor Louise Waite

Senior Staff Specialist Geriatrician. Head of Department of Geriatric Medicine. Clinical Associate Professor, Concord Clinical School, University of Sydney

Dr Janani Thillainadesan Staff Specialist Geriatrician and Conjoint Lecturer, Concord Clinical School, University of Sydney
Clinical Associate Professor Deborah Cockrell Lead for Oral Health, CERA and Clinical Associate Professor, Concord Clinical School, University of Sydney
Dr Natasha Spalding Staff Specialist Geriatrician and Director of RACF Outreach Service
Dr Cameron Korb-Wells Geriatrician
Dr Virginia Painter Geriatrician
Dr Alice Minchin Advanced Trainee
Dr George Wells Advanced Trainee
Dr Nadine Elias Advanced Trainee
Dr Kate Djekovic Advanced Trainee
Steven Chu Oral Health PhD student

Biogerontology Lab, ANZAC Research Institute

Professor Victoria Cogger Co-leader Biogerontology laboratory
Professor David Le Couteur Co-leader Biogerontology laboratory
Dr Nicholas Hunt Post-doctoral researcher
Glen Lockwood Laboratory Manager
Lara Westwood PhD Candidate

CERA Research Support Staff

Leanne Kearney CERA Research Project Officer
Sarita Lo CERA Research Pharmacist

Higher Degree Students

Winston Cheung PhD Candidate
Steven Chu PhD Candidate
Glen Lockwood PhD Candidate
Charlotte McLennan PhD Candidate
Jenna Smith PhD Candidate
Eleni Azarias Masters (MPhil) student
Joshua Makary Masters (MPhil) student
Bethany Stavert Masters (MPhil) student
Atul Wagh Masters (MPhil) student

Selected Grants

Amount awarded Project and investigator details
$12,981,420 NHMRC Program Grant, 2019-2023
Nutrition and complexity
Investigators: Simpson S, George J, Le Couteur D, Gunton J, Raubenheimer D, Durrant-Whyte H
$2,500,000 NHMRC Centres of Research Excellence Scheme, 2020-2024
NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in the Prevention of Fall-related Injuries
Associate Investigator: Naganathan V
$1,989,324 ARC Centres of Excellence, 2017-2023
ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research 2 (CEPAR 2), University of Sydney Node
Investigators: Baird M, Blyth F, Cumming R, Piggott J, McDonald P, Anstey K, Keane M, Parker S, Sherris M, Bateman H, Clarke P, McKibbin W, Woodland A
$468,879 HCF Research Foundation, 2022-2024
Effectiveness, cost-effectiveness and implementation of Emergency Hospital in the Home model of care for older people
Investigators: Naganathan V, Cullen J, Blyth F, Cunich M

Our Publications


Cheyne S, Lindley R, Smallwood N, Tendal B, Chapman M, Navarro DF, Good PD, McDonald S, Morgan D, Murano M, Millard T, Naganathan V, Srikanth V, Tuffin P, Vogel J, White H, Chakrabothy SP, Whiting E, William L, Yates PM, Callary M, Elliott J and Agar MR for the National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce. Care of older people and people requiring palliative care with COVID-19: guidance from the Australian National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce. The Medical Journal of Australia. 2022 Mar;216(4):203-208. doi.org/10.5694/mja2.51353
de Cabo R, Le Couteur DG. (2022) Biology of Aging. In: Harrisons Principles of Internal Medicine (21st Ed). Editors: Loscalzo J, Fauci AS, Kasper DL, Longo DL, Jameson JL, McGraw Hill. Columbus. https://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com/content.aspx?bookid=3095§ionid=265470089
Djekovic K, Clowes K, Spalding N, Waite L. A retrospective study of the behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia in patients admitted to a Specialist Dementia Care Unit. Australasian Journal on Ageing. 2022;00:1–9. doi:10.1111/ajag.13060 (Epub ahead of print)
Ischia L., Naganathan V., Waite L.M., Le Couteur D.G., Thillainadesan J. COVID-19 and Geriatric Medicine in Australia and New Zealand. Australasian Journal on Ageing. 2022 Jun;41(2):301-308 doi.org/10.1111/ajag.13027.
Le Couteur DG, Anderson RM, de Cabo R. Can we make drug discovery targeting fundamental mechanisms of aging a reality? (invited editorial) Expert Opinion on Drug Discovery, 2022; 17:2, 97-100 10.1080/17460441.2022.1993818
Le Couteur DG, Flicker L, Hilmer SN. Geriatric medicine and health care for older people in Australia. Age and Ageing 2022 March; 51(3):afac001. doi.org/10.1093/ageing/afac001
Luong, R., Ribeiro., R.V., Rangan, A., Naganathan, V., Blyth, F., Waite, L.M., Handelsman, D.J., Cumming, R.G., Le Couteur, D.G., Hirani, V. Changes in Dietary Total and Nonheme Iron Intake Is Associated With Incident Frailty in Older Men: The Concord Health and Aging in Men Project. Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences. 2022 Mar ;glac077. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glac077 (Epub ahead of print)
Shu CC, Wright FAC, Naganathan V, Blyth M, Le Couteur DG, Handelsman D.J, Stanaway FF. Does social support predict increased use of dental services in older men? Australian Dental Journal. 2022 Apr 03 https://doi.org/10.1111/adj.12911 (Epub ahead of print)
Sirimanna, P., Boyce, S., Gunanayagam, P., Gladman, M.A. and Naganathan, V. Development of a rating scale for objective assessment of performance in laparoscopic appendicectomy surgery. ANZ Journal of Surgery. 2022 https://doi.org/10.1111/ans.17601 (Epub ahead of print)
Thillainadesan J, Hilmer SN, Fleury AM, Naganathan V. New horizons in the perioperative care of older adults. Age and Ageing. 2022 Feb 2;51(2):afab245. doi: 10.1093/ageing/afab245
Thillainadesan J., Monaro S., Aitken S., Kerdic R., Cullen J., Naganathan V. Geriatric Comanagement of Older Vascular Surgery Inpatients Reduces Hospital-Acquired Geriatric Syndromes. Journal of the American Medical Directors Association. 2022 Apr;23(4):589-595.e6. doi: 10.1016/j.jamda.2021.09.037. Epub 2021 Oct 29. PMID: 34756839
Wu, H., Mach, J., Gnjidic, D., Naganathan, V., Blyth, F., Waite, L., Handelsman, D., Le Couteur, D., Hilmer, S. Comparing Effects of Polypharmacy on Inflammatory Profiles in Older Adults and Mice: Implications for Translational Ageing Research. Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences. 2022 Mar 17. glac061, https://doi.org/10.1093/gerona/glac061 (Epub ahead of print)
Xu P, Blyth F.M, Naganathan V, Cumming R.G, Handelsman D.J, Seibel M.J, Le Couteur D.G, Waite L.M, and Khalatbari-Soltani S: Socioeconomic inequalities in elective and non-elective hospitalizations in older men. JAMA Network Open. 2022 Apr 1;5(4):e226398. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.6398

Our Presentations


Hunt N. 2021 Annual CPC EMCR Symposium. Nanotherapeutics improve metabolism in aging mice. Australia. 2021.
Hunt N. Australasian Diabetes Congress 2021. Nanomedicines formulations of metformin and nicotinamide mononucleotide dramatically improve metabolic properties in aging mice. Australia. 2021
Hunt N. Australasian Society of Clinical and Experimental Pharmacologists and Toxicologists 55th Annual Scientific Meeting. Nanoformulations of Insulin. Australia. 2021
Hunt N. Liver Seminars: Young Investigators Edition, Online. Nanotechnology for cell specific drug delivery in the liver. Australia. 2021
Hunt N. Sydney Nano: Meet the Author Series, Online. Targeted hepatic drug delivery using nanotechnology for metabolic and age-associated conditions. Australia. 2021
Ischia L. (supervisor Dr Thillainadesan). ANZSGM Virtual Annual Scientific Meeting. 1 oral presentation. Australia. 2021
Le Couteur DG. Nathan Shock Center Birmingham University. A geometric view of nutrition and aging. USA, 2021
Le Couteur DG. National Geriatric Conference. Geriatric Medicine in health care of older people. Vietnam. 2021
Thillainadesan J. 16th Annual Academic Surgical Congress (virtual). 2 oral presentations. USA. 2021
Thillainadesan J. Age Anaesthesia Association Virtual Annual Scientific Meeting. 2 oral presentations. UK. 2021
Thillainadesan J. ANZSGM Virtual Annual Scientific Meeting. 1 oral presentation. Australia. 2021