Our program of research examines how physical activity, social connections, and healthy emotion regulation can mitigate the associations between psychosocial stress and biological aging. We are currently deeply focused in several projects on exercise and physical activity.


Principal Investigator: Eli Puterman, PhD
Co-Investigators: Kirsten Johansen, Elissa Epel, PhD, Richard Sloan, PhD, MD, Aric Prather, PhD,Martin Picard, PhD, Elizabeth Blackburn, PhD, Jue Lin, PhD

Study Coordinator: Samantha Schilf
Sponsor: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

​Recruiting: Yes

Since 2010, there has been a radical increase in the United States adult population that is providing critical care to a family member on an ongoing, daily basis. In just two years, the percent has increased from 29% to 39%. Research shows that caregiving often leads to both psychological and physical problems, and caregivers who care for family members with Alzheimer's Disease or other dementia-related disorders are the most affected. 

The goal of this study will be to examine whether an aerobic activity training intervention will increase cellular health, improve exercise capacity and blood pressure, and decrease psychological distress over six months in 40 caregivers compared to 40 age-matched wait list control caregivers. is embarking on a study to explore the benefits of regular physical activity to caregivers of family members who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia. We are hoping to examine how the stress-disease link can be broken when regular physical activity regimens are implemented. The research team will use new biological technologies to explore how regular exercise can increase cellular, physical and mental health. Currently, the research team is recruiting caregivers between the ages of 50-75 who provide ongoing care to a loved one diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease or another dementia related disorder. 

If you are interested in participating in the FAST Study, visit for more details, or contact Samantha Schilf, the study coordinator, at 415.476.3818 or at [email protected]




Principal Investigator: Eli Puterman, PhD
Co-Investigators: Kirsten Johansen, MD and Elissa Epel, PhD
Study Coordinator: Samantha Schilf
Sponsor: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute 

Recruiting: Yes

It is estimated that 39% of the United States adult population is providing critical care to a family member on an ongoing, daily basis. That is a 10% increase from 29% since 2010. This means that over 90 million American adult men and women
are providing unpaid care to a loved one, and as a result, experience the undue financial, familial and personal stresses of caregiving. Caregiving often leads to both psychological and physical problems. 

Currently, the research team at the F.A.ST Lab is gathering information about the needs of the caregiver community so we can develop the most effective exercise intervention in the future. The ultimate goal of the study is to support the health and wellbeing of people who provide care by 

providing tools to increase and monitor your activity levels including a gym membership, running shoes, and weekly exercise coaching. 

If you are a caregiver of a family member with Alzheimer’s disease, other forms of dementia, stroke, Parkinson’s, type 2 diabetes mellitus, heart disease, multiple sclerosis and so on, please complete the survey at the following link: 

If you are interested in participating, please contact Samantha Schilf, the study coordinator, at 415.476.3818 or at [email protected].




Principal Investigators: Elissa Epel, PhD, Eli Puterman, PhD
Co-Investigators: Elizabeth Blackburn, PhD, Jue Lin, PhD, Michael Raffi, PhD, 
Sponsors: Chopra Foundation, Benioff Foundation 

​Recruiting: No

Drs. Elissa Epel, Elizabeth Blackburn, Jue Lin, and Eli Puterman at the University of California, San Francisco and Drs. Michael Rafii and William Mobley at the University of California, San Diego have recently collecting data as part of a research study to examine the effects of a weeklong intensive yoga and meditation retreat program on stress and aging. The purpose of the program is to reduce stress and improve psychological well-being through the teachings and practice of yoga and meditation. This study will examine whether aspects of health and well-being can change in the short term, in as few as 4 days, in people undergoing an intensive meditation program.




Principal Investigator: Elissa Epel, PhD, Eli Puterman, PhD, Elizabeth Blackburn, PhD, Jue Lin, PhD
Sponsors: The Bernard Osher Foundation, The Baumann Foundation 

​Recruiting: No

"Know Your Telomeres” is a research study being conducted at the Parnassus UCSF Campus. The study seeks to learn more about telomere length and other markers of aging, how we can best measure these markers, how they are related to health and lifestyle, and how people respond to learning their own personal telomere length results.





Principal Investigatosr: Eli Puterman, PhD, Elissa Epel, PhD, Nancy Adler, PhD
Sponsors: MacArthur Network on SES and Health, NHLBI

Recruiting: No

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and the National Institute of Aging support several longitudinal studies to  examine the impact of socioeconomic disadvantage and psychosocial stress on the development of  cardiovascular disease  as well as other chronic diseases and early mortality over the lifespan. Several of these studies, such  as the Midlife in the  United States Study (MIDUS) and the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults Study  (CARDIA) allow our team to  examine whether maintenance of a healthy lifestyle can mitigate the effects of socioeconomic  disadvantage on disease  development.

 With funding from the MacArthur Network on SES and Health, we have the great opportunity to examine in 1002  participants from the CARDIA Study whether socioeconomic and psychosocial stress over the life course impact telomere  shortening from the age of 40 to 50.

 If you are a researcher interested in knowing more about our data with telomeres in CARDIA, please contact Eli  Puterman at [email protected].