$600,000 Beeson Award supports Musi’s research on aging

San Antonio (Aug. 17, 2007) – Nicolas Musi, M.D., assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Diabetes at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, has won the prestigious Paul B. Beeson Career Development Award in Aging Research, co-sponsored by the National Institute on Aging and the American Federation for Aging Research.

Dr. Musi will receive $600,000 over three years to study a molecular process suspected to exacerbate insulin resistance in aging muscle. Insulin resistance, a decreased ability by the body to use insulin to break down glucose (or sugar), is a major metabolic factor in the development of type 2 diabetes. Insulin is a hormone that permits glucose to enter cells and be changed to energy.

“Aging is characterized by insulin resistance in muscle,” Dr. Musi said. “However, the molecular mechanisms responsible for this condition in aging are not well understood. A proven explanation of how muscular insulin resistance develops could help us design new ways to prevent defects in insulin action and reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in older subjects.”

One hypothesis Dr. Musi will test is the idea that exercise can reverse insulin resistance in muscle from older subjects by reducing the activity of a certain molecular pathway.

According to a survey conducted by the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 11 percent of Bexar County respondents said they were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes by a health professional during the period 2004-2005. The survey sample indicates 170,000 people in Bexar County received such a diagnosis in that time period.

Dr. Musi is a member of the Sam and Ann Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies at the Health Science Center and medical staff physician with the University Health System and the South Texas Veterans Health Care System. His Beeson Award mentors are Arlan G. Richardson, Ph.D., and Ralph DeFronzo, M.D., faculty with the same institutions.

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The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio is the leading research institution in South Texas and one of the major health sciences universities in the world. With an operating budget of $536 million, the Health Science Center is the chief catalyst for the $14.3 billion biosciences and health care sector in San Antonio’s economy. The Health Science Center has had an estimated $35 billion impact on the region since inception and has expanded to six campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. More than 22,000 graduates (physicians, dentists, nurses, scientists and allied health professionals) serve in their fields, including many in Texas. Health Science Center faculty are international leaders in cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, aging, stroke prevention, kidney disease, orthopaedics, research imaging, transplant surgery, psychiatry and clinical neurosciences, pain management, genetics, nursing, allied health, dentistry and many other fields.

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