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Pilot/Exploratory Studies Core (PESC) The Pepper Center at UTMB

The goal of the Pilot/Exploratory Studies Core is to stimulate new research addressing the issues of functional loss and gain and promoting functional recovery from serious illness in the elderly. We target early stage investigators, and we also fund investigators well established in other areas who can turn their expertise to studies consistent with the OAIC theme. The PESC funds one-or two-year pilot grants with budgets of up to $50,000 per year, and also small exploratory projects with seed money budgets of up to $10,000. Read more about our current pilot projects below.

Leadership

Core Leader: Douglas Paddon-Jones, PhD [web bio]
Co-Leader: Kyriakos Markides, PhD [web bio]

We employ our assets and partner with other institutional resources to accomplish the following specific aims:
  1. Solicit and select the most meritorious research proposals for PESC funding.
  2. Identify opportunities for co-sponsorship of PESC studies.
  3. Provide PESC investigators with access to resources from other OAIC cores and institutional research facilities/centers.
  4. Monitor the progress of PESC studies.
  5. Provide guidance in the development of all human subjects protection documentation to meet local IRB requirements for the management of risk and benefit of human subjects research.
  6. Provide assistance and mentorship to develop PESC studies into independently funded grant applications.

The PESC is an inherently innovative core because it is designed to spearhead new research. However, innovation of our PESC also originates from our novel approach to its activities, which are guided by the following principles:

  • The PESC is proactive in stimulating and generating ideas for proposals.
  • The PESC partners with other centers, institutes, departments and related sources to increase the pool of funds available for pilot research in the OAIC’s theme area.
  • Pilot project recipients are associated with Multidisciplinary Translational Teams (MTT).
  • Priority is given to projects that build new collaborations, apply innovative methodologies or emerging new technologies to the study of sarcopenia, physical function and recovery from illness.
  • The PESC actively encourages and recruits faculty from underrepresented minority groups to participate in OAIC research.

We consider the PESC process as broader than simply awarding funds for OAIC pilot research. The goal is to support aging research at the institutional level.  The most important outcome is new external funding resulting from work supported by the PESC.

PESC Pilot Projects Program

Pilot Project Proposals

Pilot Project Proposals - Applications Now Closed

UTMB Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center
Call for Pilot Project Proposals

Proposals are encouraged from all investigators interested in initiating studies on aging.

Candidates: Investigators interested in initiating studies on aging
Letter of Intent Deadline: 5pm Friday, June 8, 2018
Application Deadline: July 9, 2018
Download: Call for Pilot Project Proposals (pdf)

The UTMB Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center encourages UTMB investigators to submit pilot research proposals in the area aging, physical function and recovery from illness in older adults. Proposals from any domain of translational research (T1 - T4) are welcome. Projects will be funded for one year, with total annual direct costs not to exceed $50,000. Areas of research include but are not limited to:

  • basic science
  • clinical trials
  • patient-centered outcomes
  • population health

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.

 

Current Projects

Current Projects

Pilot Projects: 09/01/18 - 08/31/19
Principal Investigator Organization Title
Ickpyo Hong, OTR, PhD Department of Occupational Therapy Development of a Cross-National Independence Measure for Asian Stroke Survivors
Vineet Menachery, PhD Department of Microbiology & Immunology Parabiosis and Age-dependent Viral Pathogenesis
Maria Swartz, PhD, MPH, RD, LD Department of Nutrition & Metabolism A Web-based Active Video Games Intervention in Aging Breast Cancer Survivors
Pilot Projects: 09/01/17 - 08/31/18
Principal Investigator Organization Title
Mansoo Ko, PhD UTMB Department of Neuroscience & Cell Initiating Gait with the Non-Paretic Limb Affects Walking Performance in People with Hemiparesis
Cynthia Li, PhD UTMB Division of Rehabilitation Sciences Functional Trajectory and Successful Community Discharge in Older Adults

 

Past Projects

Past Projects

Pilot Projects: 2017 - 2018
Principal Investigator Organization Title
Mansoo Ko, PhD UTMB Department of Neuroscience & Cell Initiating Gait with the Non-Paretic Limb Affects Walking Performance in People with Hemiparesis
Cynthia Li, PhD UTMB Division of Rehabilitation Sciences Functional Trajectory and Successful Community Discharge in Older Adults
Pilot Projects: 2016 - 2017
Principal Investigator Organization Title
Emily Arentson-Lantz, PhD UTMB Department of Nutrition and Metabolism Mitochondrial Reactive Oxygen Species Production Skeletal Muscle of Older Adults during Inactivity
Hemalkumar Mehta, PhD UTMB Department of Surgery Potentially Inappropriate Medications and Claims-Based Functional Status in Older Adults
Pilot Projects: 2015 - 2016
Principal Investigator Organization Title
E. Lichar Dillon, PhD UTMB Department of Internal Medicine - Endocrinology Cycled Testosterone Therapy to Improve Physical Function in Frail Nursing Home Residents
Steven Fisher, PT, PhD UTMB Department of Physical Therapy Fall Risk Reduction in the Elderly Through the Physical Therapy Management of Incontinence: A Pilot Study
Christopher Fry, PhD UTMB Department of Nutrition and Metabolism Satellite Cell Regulation of Fibrogenic / Adipogenic Progenitor Cell Activity in the Development of Skeletal Muscle Fibrosis during Aging
Lynne Hughes, PT, PhD UTMB Department of Physical Therapy Feasibility of a Post-Hospitalization PT Intervention in Patients with Pneumonia
Sara Nowakowski, PhD UTMB Department of OB-Gyn Gynecology Effects of Inactivity and Rehabilitation on Sleep in Bedridden Older Adults
Pilot Projects: 2014 - 2015
Principal Investigator Organization Title
Celeste Finnerty, PhD UTMB Department of Surgery Predictors of Recovery from Burns and the Elderly
Nisha Garg, PhD UTMB Microbiology and Immunology Mitochondrial Biomarkers of Cardiovascular Disease and Recovery in Aging Adults
Roberto Garofalo, MD UTMB Department of Pediatrics - Clinical and Experimental Immunology and Infectious Diseases Oxidative Determinants of Acute Respiratory Tract Infections in Older Adults
Amol Karmarkar, PhD UTMB Division of Rehabilitation Sciences Hospital Readmissions in Patients after Hip Fracture with Sarcopenia **
Demidmaa Tuvdendorj, MD, PhD UTMB Department of Internal Medicine - Endocrinology The Mechanism of Intramuscular Accumulation of Acyl-CoA in Aging*
Pilot Projects: 2013 - 2014
Principal Investigator Organization Title
Rene Przkora, MD, PhD UTMB Department of Anesthiology Novel Methods to Assess Efficacy of Pain Treatment in Older Adults
Elizabeth Lyons, PhD UTMB Institute for Translation Sciences IMPACT: Inactivity Monitoring and Physical Activity Controlled Trial
Andres Oberhauser, PhD UTMB Department of Neuroscience and Cell Biology Titin nano-mechanics in age-related sarcopenia
Tristi Muir, MD UTMB Department of OB-Gyn Gynecology Role of Connective Tissue Degradation in the Development of Pelvic Floor Dysfunction in the Elderly: Identifying Targets and Medical Management
Pilot Projects: 2012 - 2013
Principal Investigator Organization Title
Naseem Ansari, PhD UTMB Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology The Effect of EMR and Hospitalists on Outcomes of Older Patients
Andres Oberhauser, PhD UTMB Department of Neuroscience and Cell Biology Titin Nano-Mechanics in Age-Related Sarcopenia
Labros Sidossis, PhD UTMB Department of Internal Medicine - Geriatrics Effect of Brown Adipose Tissue Activation on Insulin Sensitivity in Humans
Pilot Projects: 2011 - 2012
Principal Investigator Organization Title
Junhyung Lee, PhD UTMB Department of Internal Medicine - Geriatrics The Effect of EMR and Hospitalists on Outcomes of Older Patients
Andres Oberhauser, PhD UTMB Department of Neuroscience and Cell Biology Titin Nano-Mechanics in Age-Related Sarcopenia
Labros Sidossis, PhD UTMB Department of Internal Medicine - Geriatrics Effect of Brown Adipose Tissue Activation on Insulin Sensitivity in Humans
Kyle Timmerman, PhD UTMB Department of Nutrition and Metabolism Influence of Exercise Training on Toll-like Receptor 4 & Inflammation
Pilot Projects: 2010 - 2011
Principal Investigator Organization Title
William Durham, PhD UTMB Department of Internal Medicine and Endocrinology Role of Skeletal Muscle Nitric Oxide Production in Age-Related Fatigue
Alejandro Barbagelata, MD UTMB Department of Internal Medicine - Cardiology Skeletal Muscle Microvascular Perfusion the Obesity Paradox in CHF
Michael Kinsky, MD UTMB Department of Anesthesiology Effect of Aging on Physiologic Responses to Fluid Bolus
Jose Manuel Barral, MD, PhD UTMB Department of Neuroscience and Cell Biology Chaperone Function in Age-Related Sarcopenia
Javier Navarro, PhD UTMB Department of Neuroscience and Cell Biology The Chemokine Signaling in the Myogenesis Aging Muscle
Kyle Timmerman, PhD UTMB Division of Rehabilitation Sciences Influence of Exercise Training on Toll-like Receptor 4 & Inflammation

*Co-funded by the Institute for Translational Sciences **Co-funded by the Division of Rehabilitation Sciences


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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.