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University:

Identifying and Developing Novel Approaches to Increasing Healthy Lifespan

Who We Are

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA) plays a major role in providing health care and education in the health sciences to the residents of South Texas. Many residents in this area are medically underserved. Furthermore, South Texas was one of the first “minority majority” communities with a majority of the population being of Hispanic ethnicity.

The aging program at UTHSCSA began in 1979 with the “Nutritional Probe of the Aging Process” Program Project grant which was awarded to Dr. Edward J. Masoro to advance his pioneering studies of the effects of caloric restriction on the aging process. The Aging Research and Education Center (AREC) was established in 1992, and Dr. Masoro served as its Director until 1996, when Dr. Arlan Richardson became Director. In 2005, a building dedicated to aging research was completed, and the AREC became the Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies. Dr. Nicolas Musi (San Antonio OAIC principal investigator) was named its director in September 2013. Over the past two decades, the aging program in San Antonio has prospered, with the awarding of various robust programs/centers to the UTHSCSA and the South Texas Veterans Health Care System, institutions which are physically connected and tightly integrated. The UTHSCSA has consistently ranked as the #1 or 2 top center in the U.S. for basic aging research. In 2013, the UTHSCSA received over $75M (direct costs) in gerontology research funding.

Launched in 2015, the San Antonio Older Americans Independence Center (San Antonio OAIC) represents the next step in UTHSCSA’s evolution as a leader in aging research and healthcare for older people. The San Antonio OAIC is is housed in the Center for Healthy Aging of the School of Medicine and the San Antonio Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center. The Center for Healthy Aging, directed by Nicolas Musi, MD is the Clinical Research Branch of the Barshop Institute, and was established in 2010 with the goal of promoting local translational and clinical research, as well as educational activities, in geriatrics and gerontology.

Specifically, the goals of the San Antonio OAIC are: (1) to integrate and combine University and VA research and resources to address the health care needs of older citizens, and (2) to be one of the leading sites in the nation for clinical and translational aging research. The Center for Healthy Aging is responsible for coordinating the following integrated activities linked to the missions of the San Antonio GRECC and UTHSCSA:

  • Patient-oriented clinical research in aging;
  • Translational research, taking the discoveries in biological research to the patient;
  • Training of physicians and health-care specialists in geriatrics; and
  • The delivery of multi-disciplinary care and services to older adults.

Our Mission

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The mission of the San Antonio OAIC is to establish a thriving interdisciplinary research program to promote healthy  aging in people. Specifically, we seek to translate discoveries in the basic Biology of Aging made with standard animal models, such as invertebrates and rodents, through interventional aging studies conducted in non- human primate models, and ultimately into human clinical trials. Further, we are creating the intellectual environment and research infrastructure for translating the discoveries made with invertebrate and rodent models to the pre-clinical arena in non-human primates, and then on to human trials. We also work to train the next generation of scientists and clinicians who will then be able to develop the primate and human studies needed to advance research in this area.

Our Aims

The aims of the San Antonio OAIC are:

To develop pre-clinical and clinical cores that will assist investigators in testing innovative interventions to target the aging process and aging-related diseases, both in a non-human primate model (the common marmoset) and in humans.

To support transformative translational and clinical research by providing a comprehensive infrastructure, including funds for pilot and developmental projects to test potential aging-modulating interventions.

To foster the career development of early-stage investigators with expertise in the basic Biology of Aging, clinical gerontology, drug development, and clinical trial design and management – who will then have a comprehensive skill set to test aging-modulating interventions in older adults.

To serve as a resource and partner to investigators from other Pepper Centers, institutions, and the public, communicating the results of our aging-modulating interventions that lead to the extension of a healthy life.

To acknowledge San Antonio OAIC support, please use the following statement: “The study was conducted [, in part,] at the Claude D. Pepper San Antonio Older Americans Independence Center (1 P30AGO44271).”

San Antonio Pepper Center Leadership