Assistant Professor
Department of Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences

Project title: Accelerated biological and phenotypic aging in hematopoietic cell transplant survivors: Social support as a protective factor

Judith Carroll, PhD – UCLA
Julienne Bower, PhD – UCLA
Teresa Seeman, PhD – UCLA
Steve Cole, PhD – UCLA

Multidisciplinary Expertise:
Psychoneuroimmunology, relationship science, aging biology, social genomics, cancer survivorship, clinical psychology

Project Description:
Hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) is a widely used treatment for hematologic malignancies; however, many survivors experience late effects that resemble an accelerated aging phenotype, or age-related functional declines thought to be manifestations of aging at the cellular level. Research suggests that HCT can accelerate biological aging by up to 15 years, but not all survivors experience late effects, suggesting that modifiable behavioral factors may influence vulnerability. Given the intense psychological and biological demands of HCT, the recovery period may represent a window of opportunity in which behavioral factors such as social support exert a particular influence. Emerging evidence suggests that social experiences can impact key biological aging pathways in non-cancer populations, but whether they contribute to variability in accelerated aging in HCT recipients has not been tested. This project examines the influence of social experiences on accelerated biological and phenotypic aging in HCT recipients over the first year of recovery.