News Archive

2018-2019 News

2018-2019 News

11/01/2019 - Save the Date: NIH Rehabilitation Research Conference

NCMRR-NIH-planNIH’s next Rehabilitation Research Conference, October 15–16, 2020, in Bethesda, Maryland. Learn more about the past meeting,
Rehabilitation Research at NIH: Moving the Field Forward.

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09/26/2019 - Discover Exercise: MoTrPAC

woman working out with trainer

The Molecular Transducers of Physical Activity Consortium, also known as the MoTrPAC research study, is one of the largest efforts to study physical activity involving universities, medical centers, researchers, and most importantly participants from all over the country. This research program is the largest target National Institutes of Health (NIH) investment aimed at understanding how physical activity improves health and prevents disease.

We are looking for volunteers who:

  • Are 18 years of age or older
  • Exercise 1 time a week or less
  • Have no history of diabetes or heart disease
  • Would like to have an opportunity to exercise with a personal trainer for 12 weeks and have study-relatedhealth exams at UTMB.
  • Visit
Read more about MoTrPAC.

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09/19/2018 - New NIA Muscle Grant

photo of Dr. FryChris Fry, PhD is the UTMB Site PI on a new grant from the National Institute on Aging that will study age-related muscle degeneration. The one-year study, “Dose-ranging safety and efficacy studies to advance novel mechanism-of-action drug candidates to reverse age-related muscle degeneration,” is a partnership with Ridgeline Therapeutics.

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09/12/2018 - 10 Sleep Tips for College Students

photo of Dr. Nowakowski and students sleeping on deskA recent study found that a lack of sleep has a negative impact on a college student’s GPA. The impact was as high as or higher than that of stress, drinking and drug use. In this story, CeRPAN’s Sara Nowakowski, contributes tips to help students get a good night’s rest.
The full article can be read online at TeenVogue.

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08/30/2018 - Much of what you've heard about protein may be wrong

photo of Dr. RasmussenDr. Rasmussen was recently interviewed by The Center for Science in the Public Interest - a Washington DC based non-profit watchdog and consumer advocacy group.  The interview “Much of what you’ve heard about protein may be wrong” was published in their September 2018 issue of 'Nutrition Action Health Letter’.

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08/16/2018 - Protein Absorption

photo of Dr. Paddon-JonesSorry, but that protein shake probably isn’t going to get you jacked

Ingesting large amounts of protein does not always translate to a size gain, it turns out there is a limit to how much protein your body can absorb in one sitting. “Skeletal muscle protein synthesis is maximized by 25 to 35 grams of high-quality protein during a meal,” said UTMB’s Doug Paddon-Jones. The full article can be read at Men's Health.

Dr. Paddon-Jones is the director for UTMB's CeRPAN Physical Activity and Functional Recovery Translational Research Laboratory.

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07/25/2018 - CeRPAN Lecture is part of SHP's 50th Anniversary Series

photos of speaker and audienceA special guest lecture sponsored by CeRPAN with the Department of Nutrition & Metabolism as part of the UTMB School of Health Professions 50th Anniversary lecture series was held July 25, 2018:

Video Now Available: "Exercise Guidance After a Cancer Diagnosis: Evidence and Logistics"

Presented by Kathryn Schmitz, PhD, MPH, Professor of Epidemiology, Penn State College of Medicine, Department of Public Health Sciences; Associate Director of Population Sciences, Penn State Cancer Institute

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07/24/2018 - Dr. Suman Receives NIH Merit Award

photo of Dr. SumanCongratulations to Dr. Oscar Suman, the Leon Hess Professor for Burn Injuries Research; Director of Children's Wellness Center, Associate Director of Research; Co-director of the Burn Center Research Management Office, Shriners Hospitals for Children, Galveston, Texas. He is the recipient of an NIH MERIT Award, a prestigious award provided to outstanding scientists. This award will support Dr. Suman’s research for a minimum of five years. Dr. Suman is a core research investigator at CeRPAN.

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07/18/2018 - FASEB Science Research Conference

photo of Dr. RasmussenBlake Rasmussen, PhD has received an NIH R13 grant from the NIDDK to support a FASEB Science Research conference next month. The conference is titled “Nutrient Sensing and Metabolic Signaling” and will be held August 5-10, 2018 at Snowmass Village, Colorado. Dr. Rasmussen is the organizer of the conference which includes 35 invited speakers from around the world and 8 invited speakers from students, postdocs and junior faculty that submitted abstracts to the conference. The funds are used to support speaker travel and registration reimbursements. In addition to NIH support, Dr. Rasmussen has obtained support from several pharmaceutical companies and professional journals including: Cambridge Isotope Laboratories, Navitor Pharmaceuticals, AMGEN, Novo Nordisk, Mead Johnson Nutrition, Ajinomoto, Public Library of Science (PLOS) Journals, Journal of Biological Chemistry, and Science Signaling

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07/11/2018 - Testerone prescription have sharply dropped in the past few years

photo of Dr. BaillargeonUTMB researchers found drop after use was reported to be linked to heart attacks and strokes.

Testosterone use in the United States tripled between 2001 and 2011, mostly in men without a clear indication for it. This new study shows, however, that testosterone use dropped significantly after testosterone use was reported to be linked to heart attacks and strokes. Jacques Baillargeon and colleagues from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston tracked testosterone use and their findings are available in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

This news is also reported in the UTMB Newsroom.
Fox26 Houston also reported on Testerone prescription in the news.

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06/18/2018 - Breast Cancer Grant

photo of Dr. LyonsElizabeth J. Lyons, PhD, MPH, Associate Professor in the Department of Nutrition and Metabolism, The University of Texas Medical Branch, has been awarded $391,014 by the National Cancer Institute for her study entitled “Narrative visualization for breast cancer survivors' physical activity.” The study seeks to determine if breast cancer survivors will exercise more if they engage in narrative visualization, a process of adding photo - graphs, drawings and text to a data chart to make the information more meaningful. This addition may help increase the long-term willingness of such survivors to continue exercise and therefore reap the associated benefits. Dr. Lyons is a fellow at the Sealy Center on Aging and a member of the core faculty at CeRPAN. She is also a previous Pilot Project PI and RL5 Scholar at the UTMB Pepper Center.

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05/22/2018 - Core Lab Director to Lead Team

photo of Dr. ReistetterNew Multidisciplinary Translational Team - CeRPAN Core Lab Director Timothy Reistetter, OTR, PhD will lead a new Multidisciplinary Translational Team (MTT) on Stroke Implementation Science through a partnership with the Institute for Translational Sciences at UTMB. In the initial two years of funding, this partnership will employ precision medicine data analytics coupled with patient-centered research approaches to implement targeted care coordination strategies to help stroke patients remain in the community. It brings together expertise in Health Informatics, PCOR, Neurology, Preventive Medicine, Nursing, Rehabilitation Science, Ethics, and Hospital System Implementation Science leading to the development of clinical trials. This MTT also provides mentorship and an excellent learning space for graduate students, fellows and junior faculty to become embedded in a team-science approach to healthcare.

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05/03/2019 - Moody Prize Awarded at GBIC

photo of groupCongratulations to Tessa Hart, PhD, FACRM, recipient of the 2019 Robert L. Moody Prize, presented at the annual Galveston Brain Injury Conference. The award is sponsored by CeRPAN and the Transitional Learning Center (TLC) of Galveston, in recognition of significant contributions in brain injury rehabilitation and research.

Read more about this year's Moody Prize honoree.

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05/03/2018 - Moody Prize Awarded at the GBIC

photo of moody awardeeMark Sherer, PhD is this year’s recipient of The Robert L. Moody Prize, presented for distinguished work in helping people with traumatic brain injuries. Dr. Sherer is a senior scientist and associate vice president at the Texas Institute for Rehabilitation and Research Memorial Hermann. The  Robert L. Moody Prize for Distinguished Initiatives in Brain Injury Research and Rehabilitation is awarded at the annual Galveston Brain Injury Conference. National and international leaders in the field of brain injury research are invited to attend.

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05/01/2019 - Translational Sports Medicine Cover Image

image of cover photo microscopic muscleA microscopic image of muscle by PhD Student Camille Brightwell and colleagues was selected as cover image for the journal Translational Sports Medicine, April 2019. The cover image is based on the Original Article Moderate‐intensity aerobic exercise improves skeletal muscle quality in older adults by Camille R. Brightwell et al., DOI: 10.1002/tsm2.70.

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03/23/2018 - National Institutes of Health / NIAMS

photo of Dr. FryChristopher Fry, PhD receives an NIH / NIAMS R01 award. Dr. Fry is a former Pepper Research Education Component (REC) Scholar and current co-leader for the Metabolism and Biology Resource Core. The award of $2,186,072 is for 5 years, March 26, 2018 through February 28, 2023.  The goal of the grant is to determine the efficacy of myostatin blockade in a mouse model of ACL injury to improve muscle mass, strength and morphology.  Additionally, the goal is to determine the contribution of myostatin activation in patients following an ACL injury and reconstruction to underlying muscle cellular deficits that contribute to protracted muscle weakness.

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02/07/2019 - Improving Muscle in Older Adults

photo Ms. BrightwellDoctoral Student Camille Brightwell is the first author on a new publication, "Moderate Intensity Aerobic Exercise Improves Skeletal Muscle Quality in Older Adults," in Translational Sports Medicine. Additional co-authors include M.M. Markofski, T. Moro, C.S. Fry, C. Porter, E. Volpi, and B.B. Rasmussen.

Camille was a trainee in the Pre and Postdoctoral TrainingT32 - Health of Older Minorities program at the Sealy Center on Aging. She is also a member of the Muscle Biology Laboratory affiliated with the Center for Recovery, Physical Activity and Nutrition.

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01/30/2019 - Protein and Inactivity

photo of groupGALVESTON, Texas – A new research study suggests that improving the quality of protein people eat while on bed rest could actually help protect muscle mass and burn fat.

“When a person is restricted to bed rest, even for a few days, they typically lose muscle and gain fat,” said Dr. Douglas Paddon-Jones, a professor at UTMB and senior author of the study. “Simply eating more food and protein may help protect muscle, but will likely increase body fat. Conversely, eating less food may help avoid fat gain, but will accelerate muscle loss. In this study, we were interested in finding a pragmatic, practical approach to help deal with this issue.” Read more at the UTMB Newsroom.

Read the article in the Journals of Gerontology, Improving Dietary Protein Quality Reduces the Negative Effects of Physical Inactivity on Body Composition and Muscle Function by Emily J Arentson-Lantz, PhD, Elfego Galvan, RD, PhD, Jennifer Ellison, PT, PhD, Adam Wacher, MD, and Douglas Paddon-Jones, PhD.

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01/26/2018 - Artistic Presentations Chosen by the Scientific Merit and Diversity of Study

photo of Dr. Fry and his artworkCongratulations to research investigator Christopher Fry, PhD for his winning microscope image. Dr. Fry's image displays primary mouse fibroblasts isolated from skeletal muscle.

The contest was held by Vector Laboratories and each winner received a canvas depicting their work as art.

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01/24/2019 - Dr. Volpi on Protein and Older Adults

Elena Volpi, MD, PhD

For older adults, a protein-rich diet is important for health
There is a growing consensus that as people age they need to eat more protein-rich foods, particularly when dealing with a chronic or acute illness, or facing a hospitalization. During these stressful times, aging bodies process protein less efficiently and need more of it to maintain muscle mass. UTMB’s Elena Volpi said it is not just the total amount of protein one eats, but also how much they eat at a given meal.

“If I eat too little protein during a meal, I may not adequately stimulate the uptake of amino acids into skeletal muscle. If I eat too much, say from a large T-bone steak, I won’t be able to store it all away,” Volpi said.

This news is covered in The Chicago Tribune, Gay San DiegoPittsburgh Post-GazetteThe Philadelphia InquirerSalon and Navigating Aging.

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01/17/2019 - New Publication from Ted Graber, PhD, et al

photoNew publication, "Skeletal Muscle Specific Knockout of DEP Domain-Containing 5 Increases mTORC1 Signaling, Muscle Cell Hypertrophy, and Mitochondrial Respiration" by Ted G. Graber, Christopher S. Fry, Camille R. Brightwell, Tatiana Moro, Rosario Maroto, Nisha Bhattari, Craig Porter, Maki Wakamiya and Blake B. Rasmussen.

“In this study, we knocked out the gene for DEPDC5, which is a subunit of the GATOR1 protein complex (a negative regulator of mTORC1—the master regulator of protein synthesis), in adult skeletal muscle in mice. GATOR1 shuts off protein synthesis in the cell when there are insufficient amino acids present. When we depleted DEPDC5, we determined a constitutive activation of mTORC1 leading to muscle hypertrophy increased mitochondrial respiration without functional improvements. Thus, we uncovered a role for DEPDC5/GATOR1 in the regulation of mitochondrial respiration, hinting that amino acid sensing apparatus in the cell may be more involved in metabolic programming than previously thought.”

Dr. Graber is a member of the Muscle Biology Laboratory team in CeRPAN and a postdoctoral trainee in the Division of Rehabilitation Sciences at UTMB.

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01/07/2019 - Dr. Downer Receives New Grant on Cognition

Brian Downer, PhD

Assistant Professor of Rehabilitation Sciences Brian Downer, PhD is the recipient of a K01 Grant, "Improvement in Patients’ Cognition and Relationship with SNF Quality Measures." from the National Institute on Aging of the NIH. Dr. Downer is a Core Research Investigator at CeRPAN, the Pepper Center and the Sealy Center on Aging. Congratulations, Dr. Downer!

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Molecular Transducers of Physical Activity Consortium (MoTrPAC) at UTMB

MoTrPAC logoGALVESTON, Texas – ­The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston has received a $6.6 million grant to take part in a national project that will analyze what molecular changes occur in people as a result of physical activity. The research could lead to people engaging in more targeted and optimized types of physical activity. UTMB will be a part of the Molecular Transducers of Physical Activity Consortium and Blake Rasmussen, professor and chair of the Department of Nutrition and Metabolism, will be the principal investigator.

Read More: NIH awards aim to understand molecular changes during physical activity and Working Out the Molecules. This news also reported in Public Now, Genome Web, Targeted News Service and

Learn more about MoTrPAC at UTMB.

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