March 29 ‘Spring Fling’ dinner/dance to benefit Alzheimer’s research

SAN ANTONIO (March 13, 2008)—A “Spring Fling” dinner and dance later this month will raise funds for Alzheimer’s disease research at the Sam and Ann Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies. The event is planned by the Fraternal Order of Eagles.

More than 150 faculty at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio are Barshop Institute members. The institute, which includes bench science in labs and clinical medicine in geriatrics, has been called the “gold standard” institute for aging research in the U.S.

The dinner of turkey tetrazzini, salad and a roll will be served starting at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, March 29, at the Fraternal Order of Eagles, 2230 Hunt Lane (south of Marbach Road and west of Loop 410). The dance begins at 8 p.m. with music by the band Tightrope.

The dinner and dance is $8 at the door. Those coming after dinner will pay only $4.

Qitao Ran, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Cellular and Structural Biology at the UT Health Science Center, will speak about the Barshop Institute and his research.

Dr. Ran studies the basic biology of Alzheimer’s disease at the Barshop Institute building in the Texas Research Park. He is examining the role of oxidative damage and possible interventions to boost neurons’ antioxidant defense to combat Alzheimer’s disease.

“Oxidative stress is one of the major reasons neurons degenerate at old age and especially in Alzheimer’s disease,” Dr. Ran said. “In studies of mouse models that show increased expression of antioxidant defense enzymes, my laboratory is determining whether increased antioxidant defense can protect neurons against damage induced by toxic compounds that are believed to cause Alzheimer’s disease.”

Community support is vital to the Barshop Institute’s success in achieving its stated mission, which is to enhance the quality of gerontological research and clinical application with the ultimate goal of providing humankind with longer lives, free of debilitating disease.

“We thank the Fraternal Order of Eagles for their vision to support this type of research,” said Arlan G. Richardson, Ph.D., professor and director of the Barshop Institute. “Through research, we hope that one day the loved ones of many families will be guarded against this disease.”


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 $576 million and 5,000 faculty and staff, the Health Science Center is the chief catalyst for the $15.3 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 seven campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. More than 23,000 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, orthopedics, research imaging, transplant surgery, psychiatry and clinical neurosciences, pain management, genetics, nursing, allied health, dentistry and many other fields. For more information, visit

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