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2018-2019 News

2018-2019 News

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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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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01/24/2019 - 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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01/30/2019 - 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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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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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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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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09/27/2019 - Discover Exercise: Molecular Transducers of Physical Activity Consortium (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-related health exams at UTMB.
  • - Visit
Download Recruitment Flyer for MoTrPAC

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