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The Sealy Center on Aging at UTMB: Leading Aging Research Since 1995

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The Sealy Center on Aging 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.

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University of Texas Medical Branch
Sealy Center on Aging (SCoA)
301 University Blvd.
Galveston, TX 77555-0177
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Phone: (409) 747-0008
Email: aging.research@utmb.edu

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UTMB Pepper Center Receives $6.3M in Fifth Round of Funding

Jul 22, 2020, 19:29 PM by SCOA

 photo of group of older people and text with logoDownload Pepper Renewal PDF Press Release

For Immediate Release July 22, 2020

UTMB Pepper Center Receives $6.3M in Fifth Round of Funding

Today, there are more Americans aged 65 and older — just over 49 million, according to the U.S. Census — than at any other time in history, and we expect these numbers to grow as more Baby Boomers (individuals born between 1946 and 1964) reach retirement age. When asked, most seniors express a profound desire to remain independent as long as possible. The Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Centers were established in honor of the late Representative to establish centers of excellence in geriatrics research and research career development to increase scientific knowledge leading to better ways to maintain or restore independence in older persons.

The National Institute on Aging, which funds the Pepper Centers, has announced $6,336,059 of continued funding for the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) Pepper Center for the next five years (through June 2025). Funded since 2000, the UTMB Pepper Center has focused on helping older adults improve muscle strength and regain function after an illness. Too often, even a short stay in the hospital will result in enough muscle loss that the patient will return home unable to do some of the things they could before being hospitalized. We have developed a number of strategies to combat this situation, and use them daily in our clinics and our hospital Acute Care for Elders (ACE) unit.

In the next round of funding, the UTMB OAIC will further expand its infrastructure to support innovative multidisciplinary research and train the next generation of leaders in gerontology and geriatrics. Elena Volpi, MD, PhD, professor of Internal Medicine, director of the Sealy Center on Aging, and principal investigator of the UTMB Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center has announced that the theme of the next five years is: “Translate Pathways of Function Loss and Gain into Interventions to Optimize Functional Recovery in Diverse Geriatric Populations."

Our program’s aims are: 1) Discover mechanisms and define trajectories of age-related functional loss and gain; 2) Develop and test innovative interventions to optimize functional recovery; 3) Translate interventions to the clinical setting in diverse populations; 4) Train the future leaders in gerontology and geriatric research.

The next round of funding will expand our research in the areas of novel therapeutics, Hispanic aging, and recovery from neurologic diseases. Center activities will take place through the Metabolism and Biology, Clinical Research, and Biostatistics and Data Management Resource Cores. The Leadership and Administrative Core will coordinate all activities and the Pilot/Exploratory Core and the Research Education Core will spark innovation and develop the leaders of the future.

The UTMB OAIC is a key institutional research effort, spanning across many areas of study. Other key members of the UTMB OIC include: Suresh Bhavnani, PhD, Professor of Biomedical Informatics; David A. Brown, PhD, Senior Vice President, Dean of the School of Health Professions; Rachel Deer, PhD, Assistant Professor, Division of Rehabilitation Sciences; Brian Downer, PhD, Assistant Professor, Division of Rehabilitation Sciences; Lorraine S. Evangelista, PhD, RN, Associate Dean for Research and Scholarship, School of Nursing; Steve Fisher, PhD, DPT, Associate Professor, Department of Physical Therapy; Rebecca V. Galloway, PhD, Associate Professor of Instruction, Department of Physical Therapy; James S. Goodwin, MD, Professor, Department of Internal Medicine; Kimberly P. Hreha, EdD, Assistant Professor, Division of Rehabilitation Sciences; Mansoo Ko, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Physical Therapy; Yong-Fang Kuo, PhD, Professor, Department of Department of Preventive Medicine and Community Health, and Director, Office of Biostatistics; Elizabeth Lyons, PhD, MPH, Associate Professor, Department of Nutrition and Metabolism; Kyriakos S. Markides, PhD, Professor, Department of Department of Preventive Medicine and Population Health; Vineet Menachery, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology; Charles P. Mouton, PhD, Executive Vice President, Provost, and Dean, School of Medicine; Andrew J. Murton, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Surgery; Kenneth J. Ottenbacher, PhD, Professor and Director, Division of Rehabilitation Sciences, and Associate Director, Sealy Center on Aging; Douglas Paddon-Jones, PhD, FACSM, Professor, Department of Nutrition and Metabolism; Monique R. Pappadis, PhD, Assistant Professor, Division of Rehabilitation Sciences; Mukaila Raji, MD, MS, Director, Division of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine; Blake Rasmussen, PhD, Professor and Chair, Department of Nutrition and Metabolism and Director of the Center for Recovery, Physical Activity and Nutrition; Rafael Samper-Ternent, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor, Division of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine; Gulshan Sharma, MD, MPH, Vice President, Chief Medical and Clinical Innovation Officer, Professor and Director, Division of Pulmonary Critical Care ; Heidi Spratt, PhD, Associate Professor of Biostatistics, Departments of Preventive Medicine and Population Health and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; Randall J. Urban, MD, Vice President and Chief Research Officer, Director, Institute of Translational Sciences; Stanley J. Watowich, PhD, Associate Professor, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology;; Rebeca Wong, PhD, Professor and Vice-Chair for Research, Department of Preventive Medicine and Community Health, Director, WHO/PAHO Collaborating Center on Aging and Health, and Associate Director, Sealy Center on Aging; and Xiaoying Yu, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Preventive Medicine and Community Health. External collaborators include Stephen B. Kritchevsky, PhD, Director, J. Paul Sticht Center on Aging, Wake Forest University, NC; Kevin C Wooten, PhD, Professor and Chair, Management Department, School of Business and Public Administration, University of Houston - Clear Lake, Houston, TX; and Ezequiel Zamora, MD, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine and Geriatrics, Wake Forest University, , NC.

Principal Investigator Elena Volpi, MD, PhD is an internationally renowned expert in clinical and translational research on muscle aging and physical function in older adults. She is also a practicing geriatric endocrinologist. Dr. Volpi is a Brookdale National Fellow (class 2000), and has been funded by the NIH without interruption over the last 20 years. She has been the chair of the NIH Aging Systems and Geriatrics study section, and is the associate editor of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Dr. Volpi holds the Daisy Emery Allen Distinguished Chair in Geriatric Medicine and is Director of the Sealy Center on Aging. She is the Associate Director of the UTMB Institute for Translational Sciences. Dr. Volpi is a Professor with appointments in the Departments of Internal Medicine-Geriatrics; Neurology; Neuroscience, Cell Biology and Anatomy; and Nutrition and Metabolism at UTMB. She earned her MD and PhD degrees from the University of Perugia, Italy.

The Sealy Center on Aging is a leader in aging research and education since 1995. The Center 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, improving the health of our seniors.

The National Institute on Aging (https://www.nia.nih.gov) leads the federal government effort conducting and supporting research on aging and the health and well-being of older people. Its ongoing mission is to support and conduct genetic, biological, clinical, behavioral, social, and economic research on aging; foster the development of research and clinician scientists in aging; provide research resources; and disseminate information about aging and advances in research to the public, health care professionals, and the scientific community, among a variety of audiences.

The National Institutes of Health (https://www.nih.gov) seek fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems and the application of that knowledge to enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce illness and disability. The goals of the agency are: to foster fundamental creative discoveries, innovative research strategies, and their applications as a basis for ultimately protecting and improving health; to develop, maintain, and renew scientific human and physical resources that will ensure the Nation's capability to prevent disease; to expand the knowledge base in medical and associated sciences in order to enhance the Nation's economic well-being and ensure a continued high return on the public investment in research; and to exemplify and promote the highest level of scientific integrity, public accountability, and social responsibility in the conduct of science.


Research ProgramsSupported in part by the Sealy Center on Aging


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