A $2.8 million grant from the National Institute on Aging (NIA) is enabling the Sam and Ann Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies at the Health Science Center to train the next generation of gerontologists – the scientists who study aging.
“This is a major U.S. training program for research scientists who at the level of the cell and the molecule are studying the genetics of aging, age-related diseases, and life span intervention analyses in animal models,” said Program Director Olivia Pereira-Smith, Ph.D., professor of cellular and structural biology at the Health Science Center. “We are delighted that interest in this field is growing among junior individuals who are applying to the Health Science Center to be able to study aging processes. The NIA’s support of this program is allowing us to train a much-needed group of scientists, the gerontologists of the future, who will produce information that should help in our goal to improve the health span of the elderly.”
NIA funding began in 2003 and permits enrollment of 10 pre-doctoral fellows and six post-doctoral fellows. More than 30 Health Science Center faculty from the graduate, medical and dental schools are involved with the program. Recruitment of new faculty who analyze cellular and molecular aspects and the comparative biology of aging has added to the existing aging studies in animals and has placed the Health Science Center as the preeminent institution at which research of aging is ongoing.
The Barshop Institute, named for San Antonio businessman and philanthropist Sam Barshop and his wife, Ann, is a collaboration of 160 scientists from the Health Science Center, the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research, UT San Antonio, the South Texas Veterans Health Care System and UT Austin.