• Welcome to the Sealy Center on Aging
  • UTMB Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center (OAIC) Call for Pilot Project Proposals. Research supporting aging, physical function and recovery from illness in older adults. Deadline: June 27, 2016
  • UTMB's Sealy Center on Aging presents the 21st Lefeber Winter Series on Aging. Videos are now available.
  • Planning a career in Geriatrics, Family Medicine, Primary Care, Internal Medicine, or Preventive Medicine? Sign up for The Geriatric Track in the the School of Medicine. Electives: MEDU 4006, MEDU 4030, MEDU 4033

Welcome to the Sealy Center on Aging

The Sealy Center on Aging (SCOA) focuses on improving the health and well-being of the elderly through interdisciplinary research, education, and community service by integrating the resources and activities relevant to aging at UTMB.

The Center extends a positive impact by implementing our research findings in hospitals and clinics, bringing excellence and visibility to our health care system, and improving the health of our seniors.

Center Director:
Elena Volpi, MD, PhD, Daisy Emery Allen Distinguished Chair in Geriatric Medicine and Professor in the Departments of Internal Medicine - Geriatrics, Neuroscience & Cell Biology and Nutrition & Metabolism.

Fast Facts

10 years

Over the past 10 years, we have trained 61 graduate students, 41 medical students, 88 postdoctoral fellows and 58 junior faculty.


All SCOA medical students, 28 pre-doctoral students, 21 post-doctoral fellows and all junior faculty scholars have been supported by our grants with either salary support or pilot funding.

The Center increased the number of active clinical trials with effective treatments from 11 to 22 in the past five years.


MSSRP Poster Session

MSTAR Student Wins Award at 2016 MSSRP Poster Session

June 23, 2016

MSTAR Student Leyla Akhverdiyeva with Drs. Geroge Kramer, Monique Ferguson, and Lisa Cain

Out of 76 posters, MSTAR medical student Leyla Akhverdiyeva's poster titled, "Estimation of Appendicular Skeletal Muscle Mass using Percent Body Fat Determined by Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis in Acutely Ill Older Adults" was awarded 2nd Place for the Best Overall Poster at this year's Medical Student Summer Research Program (MSSRP) Poster Session in Levin Hall on June 22, 2016.

Akhverdiyeva's award was made possible by the UTMB Chapter of Sigma XI Scientific Research Society. Congratulations Leyla!

Left to Right: MSTAR Student Leyla Akhverdiyeva, Dr. Geroge Kramer (Director, Resuscitation Research Laboratory), Dr. Monique Ferguson (Co-Director, Medical Student Summer Research Program), and Dr. Lisa Cain (Assistant Dean, Faculty Affairs in School of Medicine)

Dr. Kuo Awarded by AHRQ

Dr. Yong-Fang Kuo Awarded to Conduct Population-Based Investigation

June 22, 2016

Dr. Yong-Fang KuoDr. Yong-Fang Kuo, professor of Preventive Medicine and Community Heath and SCOA Director of Biostatistics, has been awarded more than $745,000 from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to conduct the first national population-based investigation of patients who receive their care from a team of both physicians and nurse practicioners in a "shared care" model.

Although interdisciplinary-team care has been shown to improve outcomes, especially for patients with complex medical conditions that require coordination of care with various health care providers, how these models operate in more diverse patient populations and clinical settings is unknown. The newly funded renewal study will address this critical gap in knowledge.

Source: UTMB Impact

MSTAR Student Conference

UTMB Presentations at the 2016 MSTAR Student Conference

June 21, 2016

Left to right: SCOA Director and MSTAR Mentor Dr. Elena Volpi; MSTAR Students Jason Livingstone, Leyla Akhverdiyeva, and Justin Howard; and SCOA Postdoc Rachel Deer

Three medical students presented their research project at the 2016 Medical Student Training in Aging Research (MSTAR) Student Conference on June 17, 2016 at the University of Texas Health Science Center (UTHSC) in San Antonio, TX.

UTHSC San Antonio hosted the conference at their campus and had 10 students present as the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (UTSW) and UTMB each had 3 students participate in the program this year.

Left to right: SCOA Director and MSTAR Mentor Dr. Elena Volpi; MSTAR Students Jason Livingstone, Leyla Akhverdiyeva, and Justin Howard; and SCOA Postdoc Rachel Deer. MSTAR Mentors not in photo are Christopher Fry and Guilio Taglialatela.

Pilot Project Proposals

UTMB Pepper Center: Call for Pilot Project Proposals

Letter of Intent Deadline: June 27, 2016
Download: Pilot Project Proposal Announcement (pdf)
Candidates: Investigators interested in initiating studies on aging

View Pilot Project Application Process

The UTMB Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center encourages UTMB investigators to submit pilot research proposals in the areas of 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.

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.

Questions should be sent to:
Stephanie Burt
Phone: (409) 266-9675
Email: stburt@utmb.edu

T32 Presentations at CIRWH

Health of Older Minorities Pre/Post Docs Present at 2016 CIRWH Poster Session

May 16, 2016

Postdoctoral Trainee Marc Garcia with his poster titled IADL Active Life Expectancy by Nativity, and Age of Migration Among Older Mexican-Origin Women

Three SCOA T32 Pre and Postdoctoral Trainees showcased their research at the 2016 Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Women's Health (CIRWH) Poster Session on May 10, 2016.

SCOA Post-doctoral Trainee Marc Garcia, PhD received 1st place in the Women's Health in the Elderly category for his work titled "IADL Active Life Expectancy by Nativity, and Age of Migration Among Older Mexican-Origin Women". SCOA Pre-doctoral Trainees Joseph Saenz and Loresto Figaro also presented their posters at the event.

Interview w/Dr. Ottenbacher

Dr. Ottenbacher Interviewed About Big Data Rehabilitation Collaboration

UTMB Academic Enterprise - Spring 2016

Big Data Collaboration Fules Rehabilitation ResearchDr. Kenneth Ottenbacher; Director of both the Division of Rehabilitation Sciences and Center for Recovery, Physical Activity and Nutrition (CeRPAN), and SCOA Associate Director, was featured in the Spring 2016 issue of UTMB's Academic Enterprise publication.

The article dives into Dr. Ottenbacher's involvement with the creation of a clinical research component and doctoral degree in Rehabilitation Sciences in the School of Health Professions. Dr. Ottenbacher is quoted saying that "Rehabilitation and recovery is holistic, not organ-based - it involves the whole person."

The latter part of the article focuses on UTMB's collaboration with Cornell University and the University of Michigan to establish the Center for Large Data Research and Data Sharing in Rehabilitation (CLDR) and describes the Center's main objectives: identifying and accessing large data sources, managing and analyzing large datasets, and archiving and sharing research data with other investigators.

Read: Big Data Collaboration Fules Rehabilitation Research

Source: UTMB Academic Enterprise

Aging Boom

Aging Boom

Galveston Daily News - April 20, 2016

Participants hopping on the bus to attend the Abundant Living conference in early March 2016

Health care providers face rapid change as population ages. The number of baby boomers now entering older age is a challenge for the health care industry. UTMB’s Dr. Elena Volpi is a contributor for the story saying there is a new focus on health span instead of life span. Read more >>

Note: Paid subscription required to read full article. Contact UTMB Media Relations for more details.

RSVP - Local Recognition

RSVP Recognized by Local Mayors

April 18, 2016

2015: Dickinson Mayor Julie Masters presents Proclaimation of National Service to RSVP volunteers

The RSVP Volunteer Program of Galveston County recently participated in the Mayor's Day of Recognition of National Service on April 5, 2016. Mayors from all of the cities within Galveston County participated in supporting the RSVP program and volunteers and used traditional and social media to highlight the value of national service to the nation's cities and counties.

The UTMB Sealy Center on Aging has supported RSVP of Galveston County since 2002. RSVP is one of the largest volunteer networks in the nation for people 55 and over. Volunteers are engaged in projects supporting food and diaper banks, veterans, adult day programming, LGBT youth and adults, Meals on Wheels, health education and many other areas.

SCOA Fellow Wins Award

Geriatric Nurse Practitioner & SCOA Fellow Andrea Wirt Receives DAISY Award

April 15, 2016

Andrea Wirt, MSN, RN gets recognized for DAISY Award

Geriatric Nurse Practitioner and SCOA Fellow Andrea Wirt received the DAISY Award and was recognized for her excellence in Nursing on April 14, 2016.

The DAISY award is part of the DAISY Foundation’s program to recognize the inspired effort nurses put forth every day. Intended primarily for nurses engaged in direct patient care, it may be given to other nurses who affect nursing care or patients in a significant way.

Congratulations Andrea!

PCOR Community Workshop

PCOR Community Workshop
Pilot Project on Elder Disaster Preparedness

April 14, 2016

Workshop Event Photos

Dr. James Graham, PhD helped to facilitate “A Guide for Community‐Based Planning: A Continuum of Care Model for Caring for Elders During Disasters,” a workshop for healthcare workers and those interested in healthcare continuum for elders in the local community on April 13, 2016 in Texas City.

The workshop was sponsored by the Galveston County Health District. Dr. Graham is a pilot project PI from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research in the Elderly program and a Rehabilitation Sciences Associate Professor at UTMB.

View Event Photos
Download more info:
Community Workshop (pdf)

Testosterone Therapy Study

Testosterone therapy decreases hospital readmissions in older men with low testosterone

The Guidry News - April 13, 2016

New Testosterone Study featured on Mayo Clinic ProceedingsA new large-scale population-based study from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston showed for the first time that older men using testosterone therapy were less likely to have complications that require them to go back to the hospital within a month of being discharged than men not using this therapy. The study is currently available in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Using nationally representative SEER-Medicare linked data, the researchers identified 6,372 men over 66 with low testosterone who were hospitalized at least once between January 2007 and December 2012. The distribution of age, ethnicity/race and marital status were comparable between testosterone users and nonusers. Read more >>

Authors of this paper include SCOA's own Jacques Baillargeon, Rachel Deer, Yong-Fang Kuo, Dong Zhang, James Goodwin and Elena Volpi. This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

MHAS Presentations at PAA

MHAS Findings Presented at Population Association of America Meetings

April 9, 2016

Cesar Gonzalez-Gonzalez, Brian Downer, and Joseph Saenz presenting posters at the 2016 Population Association of America annual meeting

Three posters from UTMB focusing on different waves of the Mexican Health and Aging Study were showcased at the Population Association of America annual meeting in Washington D.C. on March 30 - April 2, 2016. These posters represent 3 out of 1000 that were selected to present at the meeting.

SCOA Predoctoral Trainee Joseph Saenz received 1 out of 50 prestigious poster awards for his collaborative work titled "Mortality Following Spousal Loss Among Older Mexicans". Former SCOA Research Scientist Cesar Gonzalez-Gonzalez and Rehabilitation Sciences Assistant Professor and former SCOA Postdoctoral Trainee Brian Downer also presented their work on MHAS.

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 >>

Dr. Wong to Serve on Panel

Dr. Wong Selected to Serve on Precision Medicine Initiative Review Panel

March 25, 2016

Dr. Rebeca WongDr. Rebeca Wong has been selected to serve as a review panelist for the Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) along with other senior scientists around the US. President Obama announced this cohort program in his State of the Union address in January 2015 with the intention to "extend precision medicine to all diseases by building a national research cohort of one million or more U.S. participants".

Those selected to serve on the review panel are senior scientists with expertise in longitudinal health studies and health of minority elderly. Dr. Wong will be tasked with reviewing the centers' recruitment of non-volunteer participants. These centers will recruit the bulk of the PMI participants and ensure broadly representative sampling reflective of the diversity of the entire US population for the PMI cohort.

More SCOA News

News Updated: 27-JUN-2016

Site managed by UTMB Sealy Center on Aging • Date Updated: 27-JUN-2016