• Welcome to the Sealy Center on Aging
  • 20th Annual Forum on Aging
  • UTMB's Sealy Center on Aging presents the 21st Lefeber Winter Series on Aging. Videos are now available.
  • Planning a career in Geriatrics, Family Medicine, Primary Care, Internal Medicine, or Preventive Medicine? Sign up for The Geriatric Track in the the School of Medicine. Electives: MEDU 4006, MEDU 4030, MEDU 4033

Welcome to the Sealy Center on Aging

The Sealy Center on Aging (SCOA) focuses on improving the health and well-being of the elderly through interdisciplinary research, education, and community service by integrating the resources and activities relevant to aging at UTMB.

The Center extends a positive impact by implementing our research findings in hospitals and clinics, bringing excellence and visibility to our health care system, and improving the health of our seniors.

Center Director:
Elena Volpi, MD, PhD, Daisy Emery Allen Distinguished Chair in Geriatric Medicine and Professor in the Departments of Internal Medicine - Geriatrics, Neuroscience & Cell Biology and Nutrition & Metabolism.

Fast Facts

10 years

Over the past 10 years, we have trained 61 graduate students, 41 medical students, 88 postdoctoral fellows and 58 junior faculty.


All SCOA medical students, 28 pre-doctoral students, 21 post-doctoral fellows and all junior faculty scholars have been supported by our grants with either salary support or pilot funding.

The Center increased the number of active clinical trials with effective treatments from 11 to 22 in the past five years.


Ottenbacher: NIH Advisory

Ottenbacher appointed to National Advisory Board at the National Institutes of Health

September 22, 2016

Dr. Kenneth Ottenbacher

Kenneth Ottenbacher, Associate Director for the Sealy Center on Aging and Director of the Division of Rehabilitation Sciences in the School of Health Professions at UTMB has been appointed by the Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to serve a 5-year term as a member of the National Advisory Board on Medical Rehabilitation Research.

Comprised of 18 members, the Board advises the NIH Director and the Director of the National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research on matters and policies relating to the Center's medical rehabilitation research and training programs. The Board reviews and assesses federal recommendations for the coordination of such research conducted and supported by the NIH and other agencies of the Federal Government.

Deer: ACSM Webinar

Deer gives lecture for American College of Sports Medicine webinar

September 21, 2016

Dr. Rachel Deer

Rachel Deer, SCOA Postdoctoral Fellow and associate scholar of the UTMB Pepper Center, recently gave a webinar lecture titled, "Challenges in Providing Protein to Support Nutrition and Health Needs in Older Adults" to over 1000 participants on Sept 21, 2016. It was co-sponsored by the American College of Sports Medicine and the Soyfoods Association of North America. The webinar focused on the unique challenge that older adults face in meeting their proper protein requirements to maintain muscle mass and independence.

Raji: Alzheimer's disease

Dr. Raji: Alzheimer's research offers hope

Galveston Daily News - September 19, 2016

Dr. Mukalia Raji

Division of Geriatric Medicine Director and SCOA Senior Fellow Dr. Mukaila Raji was recently interviewed the Galveston Daily News about Alzheimer's disease research.

"I am optimistic about ongoing studies geared toward the discovery of simple blood tests that can detect Alzheimer's in its early stages, given the incredible advances we have seen in genomic," Raji said. "However, at this point, we do not have any blood tests that are specific or sensitive enough to detect Alzheimer's disease and help clinicians make decisions about diagnosis and treatment. What we have now is mostly a combination of a spinal fluid test and a brain amyloid scan as a mechanism for detecting Alzheimer's in its early stages."

Read More: Alzheimer's research offers hope

Hispanic Aging Conference

UTMB Presentations at 2016 International Conference on Aging in the Americas

September 14-16, 2016

group photo of students at the International Conference on Aging in the Americas

Two doctoral students, two post-doctoral fellows, and a faculty member from UTMB presented their research projects at the 2016 International Conference on Aging in the Americas on September 14-16, 2016 in San Antonio, Texas.

This year, the University of Texas at San Antonio hosted the conference at their campus and had about 40 researchers present their work as an oral and poster presentation. The theme this year was "Contextualizing Health and Aging on Both Sides of the U.S./Mexico Border." The UTMB WHO/PAHO Collaborating Center on Aging and Health co-sponsored the conference.

UTMB students and faculty member accepting presentation awards

Paddon-Jones: Protein

Dr. Paddon-Jones: The big protein mistake you're probably making

MSN Lifestyle - September 15, 2016

Dr. Doug Paddon-Jones

Protein is part of a healthy diet, but most people are taking in much more than recommended according to a UTMB study conducted by SCOA Senior Fellow Dr. Douglas Paddon-Jones and colleagues.

"We’re not pythons," says Paddon-Jones. "We can't eat an entire chicken and use its protein for the rest of the week." The study recommends a protein intake spread evenly throughout the day.

Paddon-Jones and colleagues conducted a study to prove this, comparing the muscle-boosting benefits of two beef meals - one containing 30 grams of protein (roughly the amount in three ounces of chicken) and one with triple that amount. They found that people who ate the larger meal didn't get any additional benefits (just extra calories); blood samples and muscle biopsies showed no increase in muscle protein synthesis (i.e., growth).

This news was also reported in The Herald.

Read More: The big protein mistake you're probably making

Goodwin: Washington Post

Clinton's heat stress is not indicative of a broader health issue

Washington Post - September 11, 2016

Dr. James Goodwin

UTMB's James Goodwin spoke to the Washington Post for a story about Hillary Clinton's health.

"It's usually not indicative of broader health issues," Dr. Goodwin told the Post concerning the presidential nominee's episode over the weekend.

Dr. Goodwin is the George and Cynthia Mitchell Distinguished Chair of Geriatric Medicine and PI of the UTMB Comparative Effectiveness Research on Cancer in Texas (CERCIT) and the UTMB Patient Centered Outcomes Research in the Elderly (PCOR). Dr. Goodwin also led the establishment of both the UTMB Sealy Center on Aging and UTMB Pepper Center. His research focus includes comparative effectiveness of cancer care in the elderly, recovery of function after hospitalization, the overutilization of medical tests and treatments, and the assessment of individual provider performance with administrative data.

Read Article: Hillary Clinton has not been quick to share health information.

Fall Prevention Lunch & Learn

Lunch and Learn: Prevention of Falls
UTMB Center for Spirituality of Aging

Download Lunch and Learn: Prevention of Falls Flyer (PDF)

The UTMB Center for Spirituality of Aging and the Sealy Center on Aging will host Lunch and Learn: Prevention of Falls, a series of presentations for elders that focuses on the education and prevention of falls.

Join us for lunch, interactive presentations by UTMB experts, and games to follow!

  • When: Tuesdays, Sept 13 - Oct 18, 2016
  • Where: McGuire Dent Recreational Center - 27th & Seawall
  • Cost: $3.00 - Please call Friday before each presentation to reserve lunch at 409-266-9692.

Lunch and Learn: Prevention of Falls Presentations:

  • Tues, Sept 13
    "Use It or Lose It" - Rebecca Galloway, PT
  • Tues, Sept 20
    "Watch Your Step" - Betty Douzar, RN
  • Tues, Sept 27
    "Medicate or Meditate" - Kyu Kim Jana, MD
  • Tues, Oct 4
    "Help, I've Fallen!" - Elena Volpi, MD
  • Tues, Oct 11
    "You Are What You Eat" - Juliet McKee, MD
  • Tues, Oct 18
    "Every Time I Feel the Spirit" - Rev. Helen Appelberg

SCOA Learning Center

Pet Care and Maintenance for Seniors
Sealy Center on Aging Learning Center

The SCOA Learning Center hosted a conversation with retired veterinarian Dr. Billie Pennings on Monday, September 12, 2016. Dr. Pennings addressed the care and maintenance of pets, the recognition of pets becoming ill and addressed questions from attendees.

Dr. Pennings recommended that everyone begin introducing wet pet foods to cats and dogs that are accustomed to eating strictly dry foods so that it becomes easier for them to eat when they get older and lose their teeth. Other helpful tips included adopting older pets from local shelters and reading pet food labels so that pets are getting good food, which will help prevent illnesses and save trips to the vet.

About the SCOA Learning Center: The Learning Center is a free, accessible resource to promote healthy lifestyles, educate, and support seniors in our community as well as seniors visiting UTMB. It offers interactive talks on a variety of aging-related topics, free computer usage (and tutorials), fact sheets on health issues, brochures for agencies providing services to the older population and their families, and books and movies for education and entertainment.

Dr. Volpi Awarded R01 Funds

Dr. Volpi awarded $2.7 million to identify new treatments for muscle loss in older adults

August 5, 2016

Dr. Elena Volpi

Dr. Elena Volpi, MD, PhD, Director of the Sealy Center on Aging and Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center and Daisy Emery Allen Distinguished Chair in Geriatric Medicine has been awarded $2.7 million from the National Institute on Aging for the five-year project, "Identifying therapeutic targets of accelerated sarcopenia."

The study will identify the mechanisms that can accelerate loss of muscle size, strength and physical function in older adults with type 2 diabetes and those who have been hospitalized. About one-third of older Americans have type 2 diabetes, and about one-third of the hospitalizations in the USA involve persons older than 65 year of age. The project will study how diabetes and inactivity impact muscle growth and loss in older adults. The processes will be studied based on how amino acids, the components of protein, are used by muscle to build protein during bed rest inactivity or exercise training.

The proposed research will help further the mission of the National Institutes of Health to develop the fundamental knowledge to improve health and reduce the burden of disability. It will do this by providing the fundamental evidence to identify new targets for the development of innovative treatments to slow down muscle loss and disability in our aging society.

Co-investigators for the project, all from UTMB, include Drs. L. Maria Belalcazar, Steven Fisher, and Blake Rasmussen. The study will be performed at the UTMB Institute for Translational Science's clinical research center with support from the UTMB Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center.

More SCOA News

News Updated: 26-SEP-2016

Site managed by UTMB Sealy Center on Aging • Date Updated: 26-SEP-2016