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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:
ASPREE Presentation | May 28, 2015
A senior attends a presentation on the ASPREE Study at UTMB. Click for more photos.

Dr. Volpi presented about the ASPREE Study at UTMB to seniors at Open Gates on May 28, 2015. View pictures of the event.

STRIDE Provider Training | May 6, 2015
Thomas W. Storer, Ph.D.

A two-hour training was provided on May 6th for area healthcare professionals involved in the STRIDE study currently going on at UTMB. See below for more information about the STRIDE Study.

Watch the video.


More about STRIDE at UTMB:

Study disputes previous theories on loss of muscle stem cells and aging
| Medical Xpress | Jan. 7, 2015

Sarcopenia affects millions of aging adults. Age-related loss of muscle mass and strength not only robs elderly people of the ability to perform even the most basic tasks of daily living, but also greatly increases their risk of suffering devastating injuries and even death from sudden falls and other accidents. Dr. Chris Fry (Pepper Center RCDC Scholar), UTMB assistant professor, is first author of the study. Fry says that "the loss of muscle mass and function seen in our study was unaffected by the depletion of stem cells in our model. Our results challenge years of correlative findings that emphasized the role of stem cells during aging and will hopefully spur scientists into pursuing new lines of research aimed at attenuating sarcopenia.”

Congratulations to Pepper Center RCDC Scholar Dr. Chris Fry on Acceptance to NIA Training Program | 2015

Chris Fry, PhDNational Institutes for Aging Buck Institute 2015 Annual Summer Training Course in Aging.

Dr. Chris Fry was recently selected from a competitive pool of applicants for the National Institutes for Aging Buck Institute 2015 Annual Summer Training Course in Aging. The course is for junior faculty with an interest in aging research and exposes trainees to a variety of aging researchers and different aging models. The course also provides feedback on aging-related grant submission with mock study sections. Visit the NIA course website for more informtion.

Congratulations to Pepper Center 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 | 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 May 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.