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

The UTMB Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center (OAIC), currently directed by
Elena Volpi, MD, PhD, has been continuously funded since 2000. Our Center nurtures a multidisciplinary translational research culture to fulfill our mission, which is to improve physical function and independence in older adults. Central to this mission is the career development and training of the next generation of leaders in geriatric research. Our scientific focus has evolved over the years from a narrow interest in the mechanisms of sarcopenia to the translation of our findings in patient-centered interventions to improve physical function and independence in older adults.

The Pepper Center at UTMB has recently been refunded through 2020 by a $3.4 million grant from the National Institute on Aging. Read more about us.

Pepper Center News

Drummond Wins Int'l Award

Dr. Micah Drummond Awarded the Vernon R. Young International Award

April 4, 2016

Dr. Micah Drummond, PhDDr. Micah Drummond, PhD received the Vernon R. Young International Award for Amino Acid Research on April 3, 2016 at the Experimental Biology meeting in San Diego, California. The award is given for a single outstanding piece of research or for a series of papers in a related area on amino acid metabolism.

Dr. Drummond has been committed to aging and protein metabolism research since 2006 beginning as a postdoc fellow at UTMB under the mentorship of Drs. Blake Rasmussen and Elena Volpi. Currently, Dr. Drummond is an Assistant Professor at the University of Utah... Read more >>

Faculty Career Development

KL2 Career Development Opportunity for Faculty

Deadline: May 2, 2016

Online Application Form

Download PDF announcement

KL2 Career Development Position (Assistant Professor)
Research to Improve Physical Function & Independence in Older Adults

The Research Career Development Core engages early stage investigators in a mentored research experience to support development of externally funded research. Scholars will work with their primary mentor and members of a research team to create an individual development plan outlining their training activities, research projects, funding initiatives, and publications. Scholars will participate in a series of seminars and workshops focused on preparing external grant applications.

Muscle Health Presentation

Dr. Paddon-Jones gives Sci Cafe presentation on Muscle Health

February 25, 2016

Doug Paddon-Jones, Ph.D.

The Institute for Translational Sciences presented SCI Cafe: "Protecting Muscle Health: Nutrition & Exercise Strategies" on Thu., Feb. 25 , 2016 at the Mod Coffeehouse in downtown Galveston, with Douglas Paddon-Jones, PhD, Professor, Department of Nutrition & Metabolism and Research Lab Director at CeRPAN and Co-Leader of the Clinical Research Resource Core at the Pepper Center, with Glenda E. Blaskey, MS, RD, CSSD, LD Research Dietitian Institute for Translational Sciences.

Contact Lauren Scott at for more information

Congrats Dr. Rachel Deer

Congratulations Dr. Rachel Deer

January 2016

Dr. Rachel DeerCongratulations to Rachel Deer, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow in the Sealy Center on Aging. She received NRSA funding for her study “Translating Muscle Anabolic Strategies into Interventions to Accelerate Recovery from Hospitalization in Geriatric Patients”. Dr. Deer was also awarded The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) Austin Bloch Post-Doctoral Fellow Award at the 2015 GSA Annual Scientific Meeting for the poster: "Improvement in Timed Up and Go Speed in Acutely Ill Older Adults after 1-month of Post-Hospitalization Interventions."

Rasmussen Receives Grant

Dr. Blake Rasmussen Receives New Grant from NIH/NIA

Dr. Blake Rasmussen, Associate Director of the Center for Recovery, Physical Activity and Nutrition (CeRPAN) received funding for his grant on Nutrition Sensing & Signaling in Aging Muscle - 1R56AG051267-01.

"The grant has two parts. The first part will be a small clinical trial in which we will enroll 20 older adults into a 3 month weight training program to determine whether an improvement in muscle strength and function causes muscle to become more sensitive to nutrients such as amino acids. In the second part we will perform a small study in transgenic mice in an effort to identify how aging results in muscle becoming less sensitive to nutrients." ~ Dr. Rasmussen.

Weightlighting Research

Dr. Craig Porter: New research on weightlifting

August 25, 2015

Resistance Exercise Training Alters Mitochondrial Function in Human Skeletal Muscle

Pepper Funding

UTMB Receives $3.4 Million to Continue Research on Maintaining Independence in Older Adults

June 5, 2015

Dr. Elena VolpiThe UTMB Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center, directed by Elena Volpi, MD, PhD, has renewed its funding for the next five years through a $3.4 million grant from the National Institute on Aging. The grant enables the center to continue its mission to improve physical function and independence in older adults.

The UTMB Pepper Center, founded in 1999, nurtures scientific collaborations among translational research investigators by supporting research infrastructure, training and pilot studies. Dr. Volpi has been serving as the center's director and Principal Investigator since 2010. The focus of the UTMB Pepper Center for the next five years is to identify pathways of physical function loss and gain, and develop targeted interventions to improve functional recovery from illness in older adults.

Read more: Provost's website.

ASPREE Presentation

ASPREE Presentation

May 28, 2015

A senior attends a presentation on the ASPREE Study at UTMB.

Dr. Elena Volpi presented about the ASPREE Study at UTMB to seniors at Open Gates on May 28, 2015. ASPREE (ASPirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly) is an international clinical trial to determine whether daily low dose aspirin improves quality of life for older people around the world. The randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled study for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease, dementia, depression and some cancers is being undertaken in 19,000 participants in the US and Australia.

Read more: ASPREE | View pictures of the event

STRIDE Provider Training

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 current STRIDE study.

Learn More: STRIDE Study at UTMB

Site managed by UTMB Sealy Center on Aging • Last updated December 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 #P30-AG024832 is funded by the National Institute on Aging (NIA),
part of the United States Department of Health and Human Services.