• Medical Student Training in Aging Research (MSTAR) applications due Jan 26, 2018
  • UTMB's Sealy Center on Aging presents the 24th Annual Lefeber Winter Series on Aging beginning Jan 29th
  • Clinical Trials at the Sealy Center on Aging
  • 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 also implements 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.

SCoA News

Abundant Living Conference

graphic with photo of two older men and text "Abundant L'ving" The Annual Abundant Living Conference: Laughter, the Best Medicine - March 4-6, 2019

For the 16th year, Camp Allen and UTMB’s Sealy Center on Aging invite you to the Abundant Living Conference. This year's theme is, Laughter, the Best Medicine. Learn more



Metabolism Publication

New Metabolism Publication

By SCoA | January 17, 2019

mitochondria graphicNew 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.

Call for Pilots

Call for Pepper Pilot Proposals

By SCoA | January 11, 2019

graphicThe 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, and population health. Learn more.

Dr. Downer New Grant

New Grant Investigates Cognition & Quality of Nursing Facilities

By SCoA | January 9, 2019

photo of manRehabilitation Sciences Assistant Professor 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 SCoA and a UTMB Pepper Center Scholar. Congratulations, Dr. Downer!

RSVP Wraps Up 2018

RSVP Wraps Up 2018

By SCoA | December 20, 2018

photo of womanRitchie Adoue, RSVP Volunteer Program Director, shares, "Over the past year, 170 RSVP volunteers contributed over 27,000 hours within Galveston County to address the community needs. This translates to $666,630 in wages saved by non-profit agencies and school systems. Much of that time was spent addressing the Hurricane Harvey disaster and one-on-one response to victims, witnesses, families and other schools in response to the Santa Fe High School shooting. This year there has also been a new on Peace and Non-Violence training which will be repeated throughout the county. I am so proud of what our seniors are volunteering to do to help others!"



Lecture Video Now Available

By SCoA | November 28, 2018

video screenshot

This week's Geriatric Medicine Conference Lecture, "Comparative Effectiveness Research (and Patient-Centered Outcomes Research)," was presented by, James S. Goodwin, MD, George and Cynthia Mitchell Distinguished Chair of Geriatric Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Geriatrics on November 28, 2018 at UTMB.


Hip Fracture Study

Hip Fractures: Can Testosterone and Exercise Improve Recovery?

By SCoA | November 26, 2018

photo of older african american woman lifting weights and older caucasian woman smiling

Seeking Women Recovering from a Hip Fracture for a National Study

More than 265,000 hip fractures occur each year in the United States. Increased risk of hip fractures in the aging population is associated with declines in muscle mass and strength, as well as decrements in testosterone levels. Researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch are participating in a national multi-center study, nicknamed “STEP-HI” (Starting a Testosterone and Exercise Program after Hip Injury) that explores the efficacy of testosterone combined with 6 months of exercise training on physical function in older women who suffered a hip fracture.

For more information or to volunteer for this study, please contact the study coordinator Eloisa Martinez by calling (409) 266-9643 or emailing esmartin@utmb.edu.

Rehabilitation & Discharge

New Study by UTMB Investigators and Colleagues Looks at Discharge to the Community After Rehabilitation

By SCoA Manuscript Office | November 11, 2018

photo of older african american couple in front of medical staff

For patients who need rehabilitation before they can leave the hospital, does the hospital make a difference in whether they go home at discharge?

That was the question Kenneth Ottenbacher, PhD, OTR and colleagues attempted to answer in their new paper published in JAMA Network Open on November 9th,  “Facility and Geographic Variation in Rates of Successful Ccommunity Discharge after Inpatient Rehabilitation among Medicare Fee-for-Service Beneficiaries."

The article looks at the Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation (IMPACT) Act of 2014. Dr. Addie Middleton, an assistant professor at the Medical University of South Carolina and a former faculty member at UTMB, is the lead author on the study. She is also a scholar in the Rehabilitation Sciences Career Development Program. Dr. Janet Bettger, another author on this study, is a former pilot project awardee of the Center for Large Data Research and Data Sharing in Rehabilitation.

Aspirin for Seniors

Daily Aspirin Found to Have No Benefit for Healthy Seniors

By Advertiser-News | October 31, 2018

Low-dose aspirin therapy in older healthy adults without previous cardiovascular events did not prolong healthy independent living, according to an international study.

“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 University of Texas Medical Branch, Sealy Center on Aging, one of 34 clinical sites in the United States taking part in the Aspirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly trial. “In this study aspirin did not protect from developing dementia or physical disability, but it increased the risk of death.”

More than 19,000 people 65 and older in the United States and Australia participated in the study, which began in 2010 to see if aspirin would increase survival free of persistent physical disability or dementia. This news is reported in the Advertiser-News.

22nd Forum on Aging

The 22nd Annual Forum on Aging

By SCoA | October 18, 2018

The 22nd Annual Forum on Aging was held October 18th at Levin Hall. The major purpose of the forum is to inform gerontology researchers, in particular, and the UTMB community, in general, of the types of research on aging conducted at UTMB and of the resources available from the Sealy Center on Aging. This year, we are proud to say we have posters from teams of investigators encompassing all UTMB Schools here to showcase their research.

Dr. Volpi thanked each participant for sharing their aging-related work at the forum. There were 83 total participants. Each poster was reviewed and scored by the judges and a total of 14 winners awarded, 11 students and 3 fellows. The complete photo gallery of each winner receiving their award and the winners' name, abstract title, and category can be viewed on the Forum on Aging winners web-page.

Dr. Volpi also thanked Roxann Grover for developing the website and electronic voting system, Stephanie Burt and Kelly Prevou for administrative support.

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.

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Site managed by UTMB Sealy Center on Aging • Date Updated: January 2019