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The new Sam and Ann Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies at the Health Science Center

Golden Ages

A New Era in Aging Research Dawns
at the Health Science Center

July 2005

by Will Sansom

The population of America is growing older. Health problems are limiting the enjoyment of life for many older people. The incidence of diseases and disorders nationwide for people ages 66 to 74 in 2000 was 80.5 million. In 2050, this number is projected to rise to 169 million.

The new Sam and Ann Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies at the Health Science Center is a beacon of hope for so many elderly who suffer from crippling ailments such as arthritis, Parkinson’s disease or osteoporosis. Barshop Institute researchers have pledged to achieve breakthroughs that will enhance the quality of our lives. And with Arlan G. Richardson, Ph.D., at the helm, that promise is as good as gold.

Barshop Institute Facts

  • Location: 15355 Lambda Drive
  • Director: Arlan G. Richardson, Ph.D.
  • Size: 48,000 square feet, 3 stories
  • Office Space: 10 lab teams with 60-80 research and support personnel
  • Contractor: Bartlett Cocke, LP
  • Architect: Overland Partners, Inc.

  •   (L-R) Arlan G. Richardson, Ph.D., Sam Barshop, President Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., and Ann Barshop
    (L-R) Arlan G. Richardson, Ph.D., Sam Barshop, President Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., and Ann Barshop

    Setting the Gold Standard in Aging Research

    A sparkling new building of limestone and metal at the Texas Research Park is the new hub of a great Health Science Center research enterprise - the Sam and Ann Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies. The Barshop Institute encompasses investigators in more than 30 scientific disciplines.

    The new day in South Texas aging research dawned May 2 with a grand ceremony of more than 650 business leaders, elected officials, leaders of The University of Texas System, and Health Science Center faculty and staff. Keynote speaker U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison said the Barshop Institute surpasses all others in research of longevity and aging.

    The Barshop Institute, named for distinguished San Antonio businessman and philanthropist Sam Barshop and his wife, Ann, oversees research efforts to plumb the processes of aging with an eye to understanding and treating diseases related to it - cancer, diabetes and heart disease, among them. "We have all done something to put the Health Science Center in its rightful place, but today one family stands out," Sen. Hutchison said. "Sam and Ann Barshop have helped to promote this center of excellence that will be a magnet for this city for years to come."

    The Barshops’ $4 million gift in 2001 resulted in the Institute that bears their names. Other donors included The Brown Foundation Inc., the National Institute on Aging and The University of Texas System.

    James R. Huffines, chairman of the U.T. System Board of Regents, officially accepted the building on behalf of the board. "Join me as we celebrate the addition of a new name to the list of America’s greatest medical institutions: The Barshop Institute!" he said. Fireworks decorated the sky as the audience celebrated.

    Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., Health Science Center president, called the 48,000-square-foot building "the next chapter in the Health Science Center’s rapid rise to join the world’s elite programs studying how to help us live healthier, more productive lives for as long as possible."

    "This new home for longevity research sets San Antonio apart, and our pledge to these generous South Texans, Sam and Ann Barshop, is that this will be the finest aging studies institute anywhere in the world throughout the 21st century," Dr. Cigarroa said.

    Arlan G. Richardson, Ph.D., Barshop Institute director, praised the Institute’s 160 collaborators from the Health Science Center, the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research, the South Texas Veterans Health Care System, The University of Texas at San Antonio and U.T. Austin.

    "I am proud to be the director and a team member of so many distinguished bench researchers and physician-scientists," said Dr. Richardson, professor of cellular and structural biology and the Methodist Hospital Foundation Chair in Aging Studies and Research at the Health Science Center and a senior research career scientist with the South Texas Veterans Health Care System, Audie Murphy Division.

    U.T. System Chancellor Mark Yudof and Huber Warner, Ph.D., associate director of the Biology of Aging Program at the National Institute on Aging (NIA), were invited speakers. Former Texas Gov. Dolph Briscoe Jr. also shared the day, along with Gen. Robert F. McDermott, a leader who envisioned the Texas Research Park in the 1980s, and Cathy Obriotti Green, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board member .

    "The research conducted by the Health Science Center is the cornerstone of the research funded by the Biology of Aging Program of the NIA," Dr. Warner said. "Dr. Richardson and his colleagues should be strongly congratulated for their excellent work to understand the many biological mechanisms of aging processes."

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