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Knoebel Institute for Healthy Aging

Knoebel Institute

Knoebel Institute for Healthy Aging


The Knoebel Institute for Healthy Aging (KIHA) brings together key strengths from around campus and the region to address growing needs here in Denver and throughout the nation. Designed to address complex problems in depth, the Institute builds on DU's dedication to the public good by supporting research and scholarship on aging in a variety of disciplines. Lab scientists, social workers, psychologists, lawyers, education specialists, business faculty members, and others are routinely involved. The work of the Institute is truly collaborative work, leveraging the assets of the DU community in the discovery and design of knowledge and engagement across our campus and around the world.

Below are some of the presentations of our Institute, as well as the faculty and staff.


On May 23, 2018, more than 50 guests attended a seminar on Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) with a Keynote Address by Nazem Atassi, MD. MMSc. Participants learned about current drugs in clinical trials and the hope of developing a successful intervention. Dr. Nazem Atassi is Associate Director of the Neurological Clinical Research Institute (NCRI) at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Boston, Massachusetts, Associate Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School. Other Attendees/Presenters included: ALS Association: Rocky Mountain Chapter, Colorado Neurological Institute, Augie's Quest/ALS Finding a Cure, Steph Courdin: ALSNeverSurrender, Daniel Linseman, PhD, KIHA at DU.

Engaging in Aging conference is KIHA's first sold-out event!

On June 30, 2018, Dementia Friendly Denver, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI), A Little Help, and KIHA partnered to present Engaging in Aging. This half-day session began with a keynote to 150 attendees in the ECS Event Space by Dr. Paula Bickford about Lifestyle Changes for the Aging Brain. Attendees then chose to attend two of four breakout sessions:

  • Changes in the Aging Brain
  • Movement and the Aging Brain
  • Dementia and the Aging Brain: Reducing Your Risk
  • Financial Security, Cognitive Health, & the Aging Brain

Attendees then regathered in the ECS Event Space for a panel Q&A session. Everyone enjoyed this event so much that we are going to do it again on October 6, 2018, so stay tuned to the KIHA website for details. 

KIHA HOSTS COCARE State of Aging Conference 

On Friday, April 13, 2018 KIHA hosted the first COCARE State of Aging Conference. COCARE is a group of Colorado Universities united in research, service and education to address the challenges of aging. This group first came together in September of 2017 when Dr. Granholm-Bentley convened a meeting of area universities with programs in aging. The original participating universities were the University of Denver, Regis University, CU Anschutz, CSU Columbine Health Systems Center for Healthy Aging, CU Boulder Healthy Aging Project, and the UCCS Aging Center. To learn more about COCARE and the State of Aging Conference, please see the Spring 2018 newsletter. 

KIHA represented at senior law day

Eric Chess, M.D., J.D., KIHA's Director of the Financial Security and Cognitive Decline Initiative, presented the opening session for the 20th annual Senior Law Day on July 27, 2018. His presentation was titled Financial Security and Cognitive Health. 

Eric Chess presents kiha's Financial security initiative at state agency Round Table

Eric Chess, MD, JD, Director of the Financial Security and Cognitive Decline Initiative presented at the State Agency Round Table on Aging, hosted by the Colorado Department of Law on June 8, 2018. This was an invitation-only event organized by the Attorney General of Colorado to inform the Attorney General's Financial Literacy initiative as well as bring agencies together to further common goals. Dr. Chess was connected to the Attorney General at the COCARE conference in April. 

KIHA HOSTS movie and seminar with Dr. Nicholas Bazan

Dr. Nicolas G. Bazan is a neuroscientist and eye researcher, author, educator, mentor, entrepreneur, music enthusiast, and art lover. His research focuses on neurodegenerative diseases, aiming to understand endogenous modulation of neuroinflammatory signaling, with a lifelong quest to help people affected by stroke, Alzheimer's disease, pain, blindness, and other diseases. He has written two books: The Dark Madonna: A Fable of Resilience and Imagination and Una Vida: A Fable of Music and the Mind, on which this movie is based. On February 21 this year, we screened his beautiful movie Of Mind and Music at KIHA. There was hardly a dry eye in the audience during this powerful story that links music and Alzheimer's disease in a fascinating and engaging story. The event was organized in collaboration with Alzheimer's Association. The following day, Dr. Bazan presented his research to the community in a well-attended seminar. 


On November 17, Dr Granholm held a round table on "Technology and Business Opportunities." Download the presentation here.


KIHA's executive director, Dr. Lotta Granholm-Bentley, is conducting an interdisciplinary study on concussions. Athletes from DU are helping serve as test subjects. The Colorado Neurological Institute (CNI) will help follow concussed athletes later in life. And the project includes Bradley Davidson, an associate professor of mechanical engineering and director of DU's Human Dynamics Lab. Read more about the concussion study here.


We had a great turnout for this community event! Thanks to Dementia Friendly Denver and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute for parterning with us on this informational event for the public. Topics covered included:

• What is the difference between Alzheimer's and dementia?
• What are the warning signs for dementia?
• How do I communicate with someone with dementia?
• What are the latest research updates?
• What resources are available in my community?

This successful event led to the Engaging in Aging conference held at KIHA in June of 2018. 


The first Pioneer Symposium of the 2016-2017 year was held on September 16, 2016 with the theme of Health and Aging. Dr. Harry Johns, CEO and President of the National Alzheimer's Association, gave the opening address at the lunch that opened the symposium. Dr. Johns was introduced by Chancellor Rebecca Chopp. Following this luncheon, many faculty presented their research and education on aging-related matters in parallel sessions, followed by a well-attended reception hosted by the DU Alumni. Learn more about this Pioneer Symposium.