Barshop Institute gains $3.4 million from NIH to train young scientists

Posted: Wednesday, July 03, 2013
Contact: Will Sansom, (210) 567-2579

SAN ANTONIO (July 2, 2013) — The National Institutes of Health (NIH)/National Institute on Aging today announced a $3.4 million training grant to the Sam and Ann Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies at The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio. The five-year grant will enable 10 graduate students and six postdoctoral fellows at the Barshop Institute to pursue novel research on the basic biology of aging.

“I don’t know of another aging research institute in the country that has 16 slots in its training grant. That’s huge,” said Randy Strong, Ph.D., interim director of the Barshop Institute and professor of pharmacology in the university’s School of Medicine. “It’s a real vote of confidence in the quality of the aging program at our Health Science Center.”

Barshop Institute researcher Steven N. Austad, Ph.D., professor of cellular and structural biology in the School of Medicine, is the grant principal investigator and program director. Holly Van Remmen, Ph.D., professor of cellular and structural biology, is the co-director.

“This is the largest training grant of its kind in the biology of aging in the country,” Dr. Austad said. “It indicates that the National Institute on Aging is eager to cooperate with us in the research going forward.”

Graduate students pursuing doctoral degrees will be supported for up to five years and postdoctoral fellows for up to three years, Dr. Austad said.

Last August, the Barshop Institute announced that a $200,000 gift from the Glenn Foundation for Medical Research would fund two fellows to participate in the Ph.D. program focused on the biology of aging. The NIH grant increases that momentum.

“This is the kind of grant that will help us attract some of the best minds in the country, especially in concert with the Glenn Fellowships,” Dr. Austad said. “We probably have a better supported graduate program in the biology of aging than any place in the world.”

The grant award follows on the heels of other good news for the Barshop Institute. William L. Henrich, M.D., MACP, president of the Health Science Center, recently announced the Texas Legislature’s approval of $4 million in exceptional-item funding over the 2014-2015 biennium to establish a Translational Aging Research Program within the Barshop Institute. This program will focus its efforts on developing the strategies, personnel, infrastructure and study populations to evaluate whether interventions targeting the fundamental processes of aging can delay the onset of chronic diseases and disabilities in humans.

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The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, one of the country’s leading health sciences universities, ranks in the top 3 percent of all institutions worldwide receiving National Institutes of Health funding. The university’s schools of medicine, nursing, dentistry, health professions and graduate biomedical sciences have produced approximately 28,000 graduates. The $736 million operating budget supports eight campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. For more information on the many ways “We make lives better®,” visit www.uthscsa.edu.



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