Q&A with Fred Ko, MD

from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and James J. Peters VA Medical Center

Q: How long have you been a GSA member?

A: I joined GSA when I was a geriatrics and gerontology fellow in 2009.

Q: How specifically has membership in GSA benefitted you?

A: The networking opportunities offered by various GSA programs have helped my professional development. These include interdisciplinary collaborative experiences that were fostered during GSA annual scientific meetings and through my participation on the Career Conversations Workgroup.

Q: How did you get interested in the field of aging?

A: I became intrigued by the biology of aging during my undergraduate coursework at UCLA. This led to several years of basic and translational aging research experience at the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center that planted the seed for a future career in gerontology research.

Q: What projects are you working on in your current position?

A: My research interests center on the biology of frailty and surgical stress and the development and implementation of novel care models in vulnerable populations. I am currently working on projects investigating frailty trajectories and frailty-targeting interventions in 9/11 World Trade Center rescue and recovery responders and evaluating clinical models aimed to enhance care in frail older individuals undergoing surgery or living with HIV.

Q: What do you love most about your line of work?

A: I love the process of studying and discovering new knowledge that may have an impact in improving the health and well-being of older adults.

Q: What was the best piece of advice you got early on in your career you’d like to pass on to emerging gerontologists?

A: A mentor once advised me to “be purposeful and persistent” with my academic pursuits. I have kept this principle in mind particularly when the going gets tough.