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The overall mission of the Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center (OAIC) program is to increase scientific knowledge that will lead to better ways to maintain or restore independence to older persons. Supported by the National Institute on Aging, investigators at leading research institutions seek to develop and enhance those institutions' programs in key areas of aging research. Currently in its third five-year cycle (2010-2015), UTMB's OAIC theme is "Translating Biological Mechanisms of Muscle Growth and Loss to Improve Function and Recovery in Older Adults". Building on the aims and accomplishments of UTMB's second OAIC award, the current Center focuses on translating basic discoveries on the mechanisms of muscle loss and re-growth with aging to clinical practice to promote functional recovery and prevent disability in older adults.

The specific aims are as follows:

  1. Provide core support to funded translational research by UTMB investigators on muscle function and functional recovery from illness in older adults;
  2. Stimulate the growth of additional interdisciplinary translational research projects to improve muscle function and functional recovery from illness in older adults by: a. Funding pilot project research to generate preliminary data in promising new areas of investigation b. Funding developmental projects to develop innovative technologies;
  3. Train future leaders in research in the mechanisms, prevention and treatment of muscle dysfunction and disability in older adults;
  4. Recruit established investigators with expertise relevant to muscle function and functional recovery in older adults into interdisciplinary translational research related to the OAIC focus; and,
  5. Foster collaborations between UTMB investigators and investigators at other OAICs and other institutions on studies of muscle function and functional recovery in older adults.

OAICs provide support for research to develop and test clinical interventions, and for core laboratories in the basic sciences. OAICs also train individuals in research approaches to develop and test methods of maintaining and increasing independence, and to enhance expertise in aging research by providing training in the relevant fundamental scientific disciplines.


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