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The UTMB Pepper Center Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center (OAIC)

Fostering a multidisciplinary translational research culture and providing career development and training of the next generation of leaders in geriatric research to improve physical function and independence in older adults.

Background: In 1999, the University of Texas Medical Branch, Sealy Center on Aging was awarded a $6.5 million grant from the National Institute on Aging (NIA) to establish the UTMB Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center (OAIC), the only Pepper Center serving the Southwest. Our scientific focus has evolved over the years from a specific interest in the mechanisms of sarcopenia to the translation of our findings in patient-centered interventions to improve physical function and independence. In 2005, the UTMB OAIC grant was approved for renewed funding by NIA for an additional five years and was renewed again in 2010 under the direction of new Principal Investigator, Elena Volpi, MD, PhD. The UTMB Pepper Center helps maintain a research infrastructure to train young investigators in aging research and to support externally funded projects on muscle aging and rehabilitation. These projects have brought more than $20 million in funding for research at UTMB.

Pepper Center News:

Pepper LOI The UTMB Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center encourages UTMB investigators to submit pilot research proposals in the area aging, physical function and recovery from illness in older adults. Proposals from any domain of translational research (T1-T4) are welcome, including but not limited to basic research, clinical trials, and patient-centered outcomes research.

Projects will be funded for one or two years, with total annual direct costs not to exceed $30,000.

The purpose of this pilot funding is to support aging-related research that will realistically lead to external funding. Pilot awardees will have access to clinical research resources, such as a research coordinator, provided by the Pepper Center. Proposals are encouraged from all investigators interested in initiating studies on aging.

The pilot proposal selection will follow a 2-step process:

Step 1: Letter of Intent - Interested investigators should write a brief letter of intent describing in one page or less their research idea and how this idea would lead to external funding in the area of aging. Letters can be submitted to Stephanie Burt (Pepper OAIC Administrator) at Route 0177 or via e-mail to Deadline for receipt of the letter of intent is February 13, 2015. *Letters of intent will be evaluated by the Pepper Executive Committee, and those selected will be asked to submit a full proposal.

Step 2: Full Proposal –*If selected to submit a full proposal, a 5-page proposal in NIH format will be required outlining your research plan. If requested, a research mentor can be assigned to assist with development of the proposal.* Deadline for receipt of the full proposal is Friday, March 27, 2015. Full proposals will be evaluated by the Pilot Selection Committee, comprising of members of the ITS Scientific Review Committee, Pepper Center leaders and an independent external reviewer with specific expertise in the area of the pilot application. Please feel free to share this announcement with your colleagues. Questions should be sent to Stephanie Burt, phone: (409) 266-9675 or e-mail:

Congratulations to RCDC Scholar Dr. Elizabeth Lyons on $712,000 American Cancer Society Grant Award:

Liz Lyons, PhD, MPHSelf-Monitoring Activity: A Randomized Trial of Game-Oriented Applications.

Though habitual physical activity has been associated with a decrease in the risk of multiple negative health outcomes, including breast cancer recurrence and mortality, most breast cancer survivors do not engage in sufficient exercise. In this project, Dr. Lyons and her team will study a novel intervention that uses narrative-based active video games to encourage uptake and maintenance of habitual physical activity among postmenopausal women breast cancer survivors. The results of Dr. Lyons’ innovative research could potentially be used on a widespread basis in clinical and community settings.

Assistant Professor in our Department of Nutrition and Metabolism, Dr. Lyons earned both her Master of Public Health and her Doctor of Philosophy in Health Behavior and Health Education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She went on to complete predoctoral and postdoctoral fellowships at the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center before joining UTMB in 2011. A member of the International Society for Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, the Obesity Society and the American Heart Association, she is on the Editorial Board for Games for Health Journal.

1st of 6,000 patients begins $30 mil NIH national study on falls prevention at UTMB | Sealy Center on Aging | Dec. 16, 2014

STRIDE 1st patient assessedThe first patient in a thirty million dollar National Institutes of Health study on falls prevention was assess at UTMB on December 16, 2014. VIDEO: "The STRIDE Study: An Introduction" presented by Dr. Volpi

UTMB's Sealy Center on Aging redesignated a Collaborating Center | Galv News | Dec. 9, 2014

Rebeca Wong, PhDThe world experts on aging research at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston have again received an international designation acknowledging their niche in an area that grows more complex every day as the elderly population explodes worldwide. UTMB's Sealy Center on Aging has been redesignated by the World Health Organization as a WHO/PAHO Collaborating Center in Aging and Health. WHO/PAHO Collaborating Centers assist the global organization to investigate public health issues from many angles, ranging from basic science and animal studies to clinical trials, public policy, training and dissemination. UTMB is one of only three institutions in the United States to receive this designation. UTMB's Sealy Center on Aging plays a role as an information resource and a center for innovative, multidisciplinary research on a tremendous range of different aging issues, from stroke and dementia to falls, hospital readmissions, exercise, nutrition, palliative care decision-making, physical therapy, chronic disease, poverty, pensions, and a wide array of other clinical and health-policy related issues. [Note: Paid subscription required. Contact UTMB Media Relations for details.] The news also appears in The Guidry News. Listen to an interview with Dr. Wong. View the Provost's Blog.

Site managed by UTMB Sealy Center on Aging • Last updated February 2015

301 University Blvd. Galveston, TX 77555-0177 | p 409.747.0008 | f 409.772.8931
The Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center Award #5P30-AG024832 is funded by the National Institute on Aging (NIA),
part of the United States Department of Health and Human Services.