2018 News Archive

Leadership Training

Pepper Team Leadership Training Program

By SCoA | October 9, 2018

On October 4th-5th, the UTMB Pepper Center and The Institute for Translational Sciences (ITS) held a two-day Team Leadership Training Program at the Tremont Hotel in Galveston.

Kevin Wooten, PhD and Eugene Frazier, MSC, CEAP, PCC, MCC, SCC, CPLC who developed the content specifically for team science leadership, spent two full days with the trainees. The leadership training program was interactive and the 27 attendees were engaged in the lecture and activities.

The UTMB Pepper center provided 25 scholarships based on merit including hotel accommodations for Wednesday and Thursday. Breakfast and lunch provided free of charge for all attendees.

NIA Grant Awarded

NIA P30 Grant Awarded to Dr. Kyriakos Markides

By SCoA | September 28, 2018

Kyriakos Markides, PhD receives P30 Grant from the National Institute on Aging (NIA) to establish a Texas Resource Center on Minority Aging Research (RCMAR) in collaboration with UT Austin. It will provide an infrastructure that facilitates the development of research on aging in minority populations and developing researchers from underrepresented minorities.

Drs. Yong-Fang Kuo, Kristen Peek, Rebeca Wong and others are also involved.

Dr. Markides is a Professor and Director, Annie and John Gnitzinger Professor of Aging for Preventive Medicine and Community Health (PMCH), and Editor for the Journal of Aging and Health.

The Rise and Fall of T

The Rise and Fall of T

By Texas Health Journal | September 27, 2018

photo of man with vial of medication

The Texas Health Journal’s September edition focused on big data research projects. Included in the issue was the work of UTMB’s Jacques Baillargeon and his team to determine why there has been a decrease in men receiving testosterone therapy. Baillargeon encourages new graduate students and postdocs to be careful when using large databases. “Most of these big data sources were not designed for research, but for billing. If something is not a billable claim or related to billing in some meaningful way, it may not be accurately and consistently recorded,” said Baillargeon.

Dr. Baillargeon is a fellow in the Sealy Center on Aging and a core research investigator at the UTMB Pepper Center.

Re-application Workshop

Dr. Toombs Smith Presents Lecture

By SCoA | September 24 2018

photo of two women in front of research poster

Dr. Toombs Smith, director of the Sealy Center on Aging Manuscript Office, participated in a workshop for School of Medicine applicants on September 24, 2018 to assist with re-application to UTMB. Her presentation was entitled, “Hacking the Personal Statement.” The event was funded by a grant from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board Minority Health Research and Education Program (MHGP) 2018-2020 (PI, Norma Perez, MD, DrPH).

NIA Muscle Study Grant

New Muscle Study Grant from NIA

By SCoA | September 19, 2018

photo of Dr Fry

SCoA Fellow and co-leader of the Pepper Center Metabolism and Biology Resource Core 2, Chris 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.

Aspirin in Seniors

Low-dose aspirin found to have no effect on healthy life span in seniors

By UTMB Newsroom | September 17, 2018

photo of Dr Volpi

GALVESTON, Texas – The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston participated in an international study finding that low-dose aspirin therapy in older healthy adults without previous cardiovascular events did not prolong healthy independent living.

UTMB’s Sealy Center on Aging was one of 34 clinical sites in the United States taking part in the ASPirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly trial.

“This is a critically important study because many older adults who never had a heart attack or a stroke are taking aspirin,” says Dr. Elena Volpi, principal investigator of the UTMB clinical site. “In this study aspirin did not protect from developing dementia or physical disability, but it increased the risk of death.”

This is also posted at TMC News.

10 Sleep Tips

10 Sleep Tips for College Students

By TeenVogue | September 12, 2018

One of four students sleeping on desk

A 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, SCoA fellow Sara Nowakowski, contributes tips to help students get a good night’s rest.
The full article can be read online at TeenVogue

Pepper Pilots Awarded

Congratulations to Pepper Pilot Awardees

By SCoA | September 11, 2018

One of four students sleeping on desk

The Pilot/Exploratory Studies Core (PESC) is to stimulate new research addressing the issues of functional loss and gain and promoting functional recovery from serious illness in the elderly. The PESC funds one- or two-year pilot grants with budgets up to $50,000 per year and also small exploratory projects with seed money budgets of up to $10,000. This year's Pepper Pilot Awardees are:

To read each awardees' full abstract, visit the PESC Pilot Projects Program web page and click on the Current Projects tab.

Dr. Rasmussen on Protein

Much of what you've heard about protein may be wrong

By Nutrition Action | August 30, 2018

magazine cover

Dr. 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’.



Protein Absorption

Sorry, but that protein shake probably isn’t going to get you jacked

By Men's Health | August 16, 2018


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.

Rev Appelberg Honored

Rev Appelberg Honored at Galveston Beach Band Concert

By SCoA | August 14, 2018


Rev Helen Appelberg, Senior Fellow at the Sealy Center on Aging at UTMB was honored at the final Galveston Beach Band concert of the season on August 14, 2018. Rev Appelberg has organized outreach activities at SCoA for many years.

Testosterone Prescriptions

Testosterone prescriptions have sharply dropped in the past few years

By UTMB Newsroom | July 11, 2018


UTMB researchers found drop after use was reported to be linked to heart attacks and strokes.

GALVESTON, Texas – 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.

Fox26 Houston also reported on Testosterone prescription decline.

MSTAR in San Antonio

MSTAR Students and Mentors in San Antonio

By SCoA | July 9, 2018

photo of student researchers

SCoA Medical Student in Aging Research (MSTAR) students and mentors pose for a group photo at the UT Health Science Center in San Antonio, TX on June 22nd. Students presented their oral presentations at the MSTAR conference.

Summer Research Program

MSTAR Student Wins Award at the 2018 Summer Research Program Poster Session

By SCoA | June 28, 2018

photo of woman in front of research poster

Congratulations to Christine Nguyen, participant in the Medical Student in Aging Research (MSTAR) program. She is the recipient of an award in Minority Health Research at the Summer Research Program Poster Session on June 27, 2018 at UTMB. Her work is titled, "Differences in healthcare utilization at end of life between elderly Hispanics with and without dementia." Christine was mentored by Dr. Raji in the Division of Geriatrics, Dr. Kuo in the Department of Preventive Medicine & Community Health and Dr. Downer in the Division of Rehabilitation Sciences.

Breast Cancer Grant

Dr. Lyons awarded $391,014 by the National Cancer Institute for a study to increase physical activity in breast cancer survivors

By SCoA | June 18, 2018

Dr. Lyons awarded $391,014
by the National Cancer Institute
for a study to increase physical
activity in breast cancer survivors

Elizabeth 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 the Center for Recovery, Physical Activity and Nutrition. She is also a previous Pilot Project PI and RL5 Scholar at the UTMB Pepper Center.

Special Lecture

Sealy Center on Aging Health of Older Minorities Special Lecture

By SCoA | June 7, 2018


Please join us for a Sealy Center on Aging Health of Older Minorities Special Lecture, “Improving Screening for Mild Cognitive Impairment and Dementia among Racial and Ethnic Minorities using the Montreal Cognitive Assessment,” presented by Sadaf Milani, MPH, CPH - PhD, Epidemiology University of Florida Department of Epidemiology on Friday, June 8, 2018 at 12:00- 1:00 PM in RSH 6.100.

Volpi GSBS Award

Dr. Volpi GSBS Distinguished Faculty Research Award

By UTMB Newsroom | May 25, 2018


UTMB’s Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences held commencement on May 18, 2018. The Distinguished Faculty Research Award was presented to Elena Volpi, MD, PhD. Dr. Volpi was recognized for her prominent global reputation in metabolism research within the important field of aging. Congratulations Dr. Volpi!

WHO/PAHO Redesignation

World Health Organization/Pan American Health Organization Collaborating Center on Aging and Health

By Galveston Daily News | May 23, 2018


The Sealy Center on Aging has been re-designated as a World Health Organization/Pan American Health Organization Collaborating Center on Aging and Health, under the direction of Dr. Rebeca Wong. Collaborating centers are designated by the WHO Director-General to carry out activities in support of the WHO’s programs. Our center plays an essential role in research and clinical training in public health, geriatrics and gerontology. The designation begins June 30, 2018 and will be effective for four years.

Scientific Writing Tips

Pepper Investigator's Lecture Video Now Available

By SCoA | May 2, 2018

video screenshot

This month's Pepper Investigator's Lecture, "Sixteen Suggestions to Improve Skills in Scientific Writing," was presented by, James S. Goodwin, MD, George and Cynthia Mitchell Distinguished Chair of Geriatric Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Geriatrics on May 2, 2018 at UTMB.


Annual Pepper Meeting

Research Investigators Attend Annual Pepper OAIC Meeting

By SCoA | May 1, 2018

photo group

Researchers from the Sealy Center on Aging and the UTMB Pepper OAIC attended the Annual Pepper Meeting on April 30 & May 1, 2018.

Dr. Volpi presented, "How to Grow in Leadership Roles," with David Reuben, MD from UCLA. Blake Rasmussen, PhD, gave a report on the second year of MoTrPAC.

Best Poster Award

Best Poster Award Annual Pepper OAIC Meeting

By SCoA | May 1, 2018

photo of man in front of research poster

Researchers from the Sealy Center on Aging and the UTMB Pepper OAIC attended the Annual Pepper Meeting on April 30 & May 1, 2018.

Investigators participated in a poster session where Rafael Samper-Ternent, MD, PhD and co-authors received a Best Poster award for their work, "Enhancing Wellbeing of Older Hispanics with Dementia and their Caregivers: The Role of Functional and Cognitive Decline."

Diabetic Volunteers Needed

Diabetic Volunteers Aged 60-85 for Study

By SCoA | April 25, 2018

photo of clip board with document, stethescope, diabetes meter and heart

Nutrition, Exercise and Muscle Growth in Diabetes DIABETIC VOLUNTEERS NEEDED! Ages 60-85


Researchers from the Sealy Center on Aging at UTMB need volunteers for a new study on exercise, nutrition and muscle growth. To participate in this trial, you must be between the ages of 60 and 85 and not suffer from a serious medical condition except Type II Diabetes. We are recruiting for Type II Diabetes. You will be compensated for time and travel. You shall receive regular medical exams and tests. You will be given a copy of your test results. Dr. Elena Volpi is the Principal Investigator of this study. Contact Paula Skinkis: 409-772-1907 pskinkis@utmb.edu


National Institutes of Health / NIAMS Award

By SCoA | March 23, 2018

photo of Dr. Fry

Christopher 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.

New Pub is Editor's Choice

New Publications is Editor's Choice in Journal of Gerontology

By SCoA News | March 16, 2018

photo of Rachel Deer

Former SCoA Postdoctoral Trainee Rachel Deer, PhD, Assistant Professor, Rehabilitation Sciences is lead author on article selected as Editor's Choice in the February 2018 issue of Journals of Gerontology, Series A: Medical Sciences, A Randomized Controlled Pilot Trial of Interventions to Improve Functional Recovery After Hospitalization in Older Adults: Feasibility and Adherence.

Congratulations to all, including co authors Shawn Goodlett, Steve Fisher, Jacques Baillargeon, Jared Dickinson, Mukaila Raji, and Elena Volpi.

We are especially proud that this is Clinical Research Coordinator Shawn Goodlett's first publication!

Dr. Raji Receives Award

Dr. Mukaila Raji Receives Excellence in Teaching Award

By SCoA News | February 14, 2018

photo of Mukaila Raji

Mukaila Raji, MD, MS, FACP has been selected as one of the 2018 recipients of the Excellence in Clinical Teaching Awards. This award was established by UTMB's John P. McGovern Academy of Oslerian Medicine, these awards recognize faculty who excel in teaching students and residents in clinical settings, thus modeling the ideal of compassionate, scientifically sound, patient-centered care exemplified by Sir William Osler.

The award will be presented to Dr. Raji at the annual Osler Oration to be held on Friday, July 20, 2018.

Quantitative Seminar Series

The Hope, Hype and Reality of EHR for Research - Quantitative Seminar Series at UTMB - Feb 21, 2018

By SCoA News | February 13, 2018

photo of Dr. Gulshan

The UTMB Office of Biostatistics, Clinical & Translational Science Awards (CTSA) and the Center for Large Data Research and Data Sharing in Rehabilitation (CLDR) Present: TRCC (Texas Regional CTSA Consortium) Quantitative Seminar Series

The Hope, Hype and Reality of EHR for Research
Gulshan Sharma, MD, MPH
Vice President, Chief Medical & Clinical Innovation Officer
Director, Division of Pulmonary Critical Care & Sleep Medicine
Sealy and Smith Distinguished Chair in Internal Medicine
University of Texas Medical Branch

Wednesday, February 21, 2018 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm Research Building 6, Room 1.206

This seminar contributes to achieving one or more of the CTSA core competencies in the category of Statistical Approaches.

Topic: The Hope, Hype and Reality of EHR for Research


  • Understand the current landscape of EHR/s
  • Use of EHR at national/international, regional, and local UT system level for research purposes
  • Future direction Participating TRCC Institutions include: UTMB, UTHSC-Houston, UTHSC-San Antonio, and UT Southwestern The Hope, Hype and Reality of EHR for Research

Fight Against Alzheimer's

UTMB Physicians and Scientists Join Together in the Fight Against Alzheimer's Disease

By SCoA News | January 29, 2018

photo of UTMB Physicians and Scientists

An estimated 5 million Americans are currently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in the U.S. It is the sixth leading cause of death in the nation. In an effort to learn more about the disease and provide patient care and social support to patients and their families, UTMB has enlisted a team of physicians and scientists with expertise in neurology, geriatric care and radiology to launch a comprehensive Alzheimer’s Disease and Memory Disorders Program. Read full article.

Microscopic Photography

Artistic Presentations Chosen by the Scientific Merit and Diversity of Study

By SCoA News | January 26, 2018

photo of Dr. Fry

Congratulations 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.



Healthy Eating

Achieving Healthy Eating among Hispanic Elders

By SCoA News | January 24, 2018

photo of Dr. Perez-Velazquez Lecture

SCoA and WHO/PAHO Collaborating Center welcome postdoctoral trainee candidate, Carmen M. Perez-Velázquez, DrPH, MSHN, RDN, LND and Instructor from the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus.

Dr. Perez-Velázquez lecture was entitled "Achieving Healthy Eating among Hispanic Elders to Reduce Their Disease Burden".


Experienced Physicians

Patients more likely to die under care from 1st-year hospitalists

By HealthExec | January 02, 2018

photo of Dr. Goodwin

An extra year of experience for a physician can make an impact on patient mortality in a hospital, according to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine that found 30-day and hospital mortality rates were higher for hospitalists in the first year of practice than their second.

The study, led by James Goodwin, MD of the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas, looked at more at Medicare data from between Jan. 2007 and Dec. 2013 for more than 3,800 first-year hospitalists. Only physicians who continued to practice as hospitalists four or more years after their initial year of experience were included. Read full article at HealthExec.com.

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