Karen A. Roberto, professor of human development and director of the Center for Gerontology at Virginia Tech, has accepted an invitation from the Center for Scientific Review at the National Institutes of Health to serve as a member of the Social Psychology, Personality and Interpersonal Processes study section. Her term extends from July 1, 2013, until June 30, 2017.

"Members are selected on the basis of their demonstrated competence and achievement in their scientific discipline as evidenced by the quality of research accomplishments, publications in scientific journals, and other significant scientific activities, achievements and honors," wrote Richard Nakamura, director of the Center for Scientific Review in the letter announcing Roberto's appointment.

In this role, Roberto will review grant proposals made to the NIH Social Psychology, Personality and Interpersonal Processes study section and make recommendations for funding. Membership on a study section represents a major commitment of professional time and energy as well as a unique opportunity to contribute to the national biomedical research effort. The NIH is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Roberto also serves as director of the Institute for Society, Culture, and Environment at Virginia Tech, and holds the positions of adjunct professor for the Department of Internal Medicine and Department of Psychiatry at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine.

As a family gerontologist, Roberto has won more than $5.3 million in research grants that focus on health and social support in late life and includes studies of the health of rural older women, coping with chronic conditions such as osteoporosis, pain, falls, and cancer, family relationships and care giving, and elder abuse.

In recognition of the influence of her long-standing research on family care giving, Roberto was invited to give a keynote address on changes in family structure and the care of older adults at the 20th International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics World Congress in Seoul, South Korea, in June 2013. The congress takes place every four years, providing a forum for thousands of experts from around the world to discuss the latest research and practices in aging. She was the only woman scientist among the eight keynote lecturers, and one of only two social scientists.

Roberto has served in various leadership positions in a number of professional organizations and holds the prestigious designation as Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America, the National Council on Family Relations, and The Association for Gerontology in Higher Education.

Roberto received her bachelor’s degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and her master’s and Ph.D. from Texas Tech.



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