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


RSVP Program of Galveston

Community Event for RSVP of Galveston County

By SCoA | March 19, 2019

photo of group of people seated in fellowship hall with a woman presenting Representatives from Galveston County non-profit organizations and the RSVP Volunteer Program presented about ongoing volunteer opportunities on Tuesday, March 19, 2019 at Moody Methodist Church Fellowship Hall, Galveston, TX. Members of the community age 55 or older were invited to attend this free event. Presentations were given about Gulf Coast Center - Veteran Support Services, HIS Ministries, Libbie's Place Senior Day Program, MI Lewis, and others.

Learn more about the RSVP Program.

Winter Series Video 5/5

Lefeber Winter Series on Aging Video Now Available:

By SCoA | March 1, 2019

Cynthia J. Brown, MD, MSPHVideo Now Available: Economic Insecurity among Older Adults of Color ─ Housing and Health as Cause and Effect - February 26, 2019
Presented by Steven P. Wallace, PhD, Professor, Community Health Sciences Fielding School of Public Health Associate Director, Center for Health Policy Research Center Director, Resource Centers for Minority Aging Resource National Coordinating Center University of California, Los Angeles

See all five of this year's lectures in the 24th Lefeber Winter Series on Aging.

ERAS Dr. Ljungqvist

Enhanced Recovery After Surgery

By SCoA | February 22, 2019

Jeff D. Williamson, MD, MHSJoin us for a special lecture, "Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS): What? How? Why?" presented by Olle Ljungqvist MD, PhD, Founder ERAS Society, Professor of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine and Health, School of Health and Medical Sciences, Department of Surgery, Örebro University, Örebro, Sweden.

Monday, February 25, 2019
Caduceus Room, 6th Floor Admin Building

This event is co-sponsored by the Sealy Center on Aging, the John & Virginia S. Kennedy Lectureship and UTMB Faculty Group Practice.

Winter Series Video 4/5

Lefeber Winter Series on Aging Video Now Available:

By SCoA | February 21, 2019

Cynthia J. Brown, MD, MSPHVideo Now Available: Integrating Physical and Cognitive Function Outcomes into Large Clinical Trials: The SPRINT Example - February 19, 2019
Presented by Cynthia J. Brown, MD, MSPH, Professor and Director, Division of Gerontology, Geriatrics, and Palliative Care Director, Comprehensive Center for Healthy Aging University of Alabama at Birmingham

The 24th Lefeber Winter Series on Aging continues Tuesday evenings through February 26, 2019.

HPV Interventions

New Study by UTMB Investigators and Colleagues Evaluates Interventions to increase Human Papillomavirus Vaccinations in the U.S.

By SCoA | February 20, 2019

photo of woman and syringe with bottles of colored liquidResearchers at UTMB, Emory University, and UT MD Anderson Cancer Center have published a meta-analysis of 17 randomized, controlled trials (RCTs) and quasi-experiments involving 68,623 children, adolescents, and young adults to answer the question: Do interventions increase the use and completion of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccinations in the U.S?

The researchers found that interventions – whether behavioral, environmental, informational, or a combination of strategies – did indeed increase both initiation and completion of vaccine regimens. The information is important because HPV vaccination requires either two or three doses to be effective. The number of doses depends on the age at which vaccination starts. Read the article, Human Papillomavirus Vaccine Interventions in the U.S.: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas awards grants
CPRIT, February 21, 2019
The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas recently awarded grants totaling close to $96 million to advance the fight against cancer. UTMB researchers receiving grants were Abbey Berenson and Ana M. RodriquezHouston Business Journal and The San Antonio Business Journal also covered announcement of the awards. 

Winter Series Video 3/5

Lefeber Winter Series on Aging Video Now Available:

By SCoA | February 15, 2019

Jeff D. Williamson, MD, MHSVideo Now Available: Integrating Physical and Cognitive Function Outcomes into Large Clinical Trials: The SPRINT Example - February 12, 2019
Presented by Jeff D. Williamson, MD, MHS, Professor of Internal Medicine and Epidemiology Chief, Section on Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine Director, Center for Healthcare Innovation Wake Forest Baptist Health

The 24th Lefeber Winter Series on Aging continues Tuesday evenings through February 26, 2019.

Winter Series Video 2/5

Lefeber Winter Series on Aging Video Now Available:

By SCoA | February 8, 2019

Anne B. Newman, MD, MPHVideo Now Available: Why is Age a Risk Factor? Insights from Population Studies - February 5, 2019
Presented by Anne B. Newman, MD, MPH, Chair, Department of Epidemiology Katherine M. Detre Endowed Chair of Population Health Sciences Director, Center for Aging and Population Health Professor of Epidemiology, Medicine, and Clinical and Translational Science Graduate School of Public Health University of Pittsburgh

The 24th Lefeber Winter Series on Aging continues Tuesday evenings through February 26, 2019.

Improving Muscle

New Publication on Improving Muscle in Older Adults

By SCoA | February 7, 2019

photoDoctoral 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 is a current 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.

Winter Series Video 1/5

Lefeber Winter Series on Aging Video Now Available:

By SCoA | January 31, 2019

Bret H. Goodpaster, PhDVideo Now Available: Mitochondrial Energetics and Insulin Resistance in Aging - January 29, 2019
Presented by Bret H. Goodpaster, PhD, Senior Investigator & Director, Exercise Metabolism Core Translational Research Institute for Metabolism & Diabetes Florida Hospital, Orlando

The 24th Lefeber Winter Series on Aging continues Tuesday evenings through February 26, 2019.

Protein and Inactivity

New study finds that correct amounts of protein during inactivity helps protect muscle mass

By UTMB Newsroom | January 28, 2019

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.

Protein and Older Adults

For older adults, a protein-rich diet is important for health

By Washington Post | January 19, 2019

Dr. Elena Volpi, Director of UTMB's Sealy Center on Aging

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 also covered in The Chicago TribuneGay San DiegoPittsburgh Post-GazetteThe Philadelphia Inquirer, and Salon.

Metabolism Publication

New Metabolism Publication

By SCoA | January 17, 2019

mitochondria graphic

New 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

document graphic

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, and population health.

Dr. Downer New Grant

New Grant Investigates Cognition & Quality of Nursing Facilities

By SCoA | January 9, 2019

photo of man

Rehabilitation 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!

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