Barshop Institute

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The Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies is a basic and clinical research institute located on the Texas Research Park Campus of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA). It is a leading institute in the United States in geriatrics research. The Barshop Institute ranks #1 in National Institute on Aging funding among Texas institutions, and is highly ranked in the country in National Institute of Health funding. The scientific director of the institute is Nicolas Musi, M.D.

The Barshop Institute brings together the world’s leading scientists in aging and longevity research and provides them with the latest technologies in the application of cutting-edge research methods to foster good health and enhance the quality of life of our aging population. By supporting basic research in aging and the mentoring of promising new gerontological clinicians and researchers as well as sustaining the efforts of innovative and focused investigators, the Barshop Institute provides a wide range of core services and clinical facilities as well as cutting edge programs involving state-of-the-art technologies such as genomics and proteomics, transgenic animal models, and pathological assessments.

In 2009, one of the research projects of the institute, was announced by Science magazine as one of the top scientific discoveries of the year.[1]

Research[edit]

More than 160 faculty members at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio are actively involved in biomedical and clinical research and educational activities that range from the molecular genetics of aging to issues of health care for the elderly population. Faculty members of the Barshop Institute are internationally known for their research into disease processes associated with aging, such as Alzheimer’s Disease, Cancer, Diabetes, Parkinson’s Disease, and Cardiovascular Disease. Faculty members have made major scientific inquiries into the molecular regulation of aging and age-related diseases, development of anti-aging interventions, and health care issues of the elderly.

In 2010, the University established the Center for Healthy Aging where Barshop Institute scientists studying the basic biology of aging work with their colleagues in clinical research to coordinate translational and clinical aging research and geriatrics education across all schools of the Health Science Center.

Centers and Programs[edit]

  • San Antonio Claude D. Pepper Older American Independence Center

As a recipient of the Claude D. Pepper Older American Independence Center (OAIC) grant from the National Institute of Aging (NIA), the Barshop Institute is furthering research efforts towards the clinical aspect. The Pepper Center designation enables translation of research into practical applications in the lives of older Americans. The Barshop Institute is one of the few places in the country that can both investigate the aging process and move the findings into the clinic.

  • San Antonio Nathan Shock Center for Excellence in the Basic Biology of Aging

The San Antonio Nathan Shock Center for Excellence in the Basic Biology of Aging is one of the original Nathan Shock Centers founded by the NIH National Institute on Aging in 1995. The Center is a national resource that provides a state-of-the-art scientific infrastructure and services used in the development and study of rodent models to address questions about the basic biological mechanisms of aging. The Center facilitates the genetic manipulation of mice and rats to test hypotheses relevant to senescence, it provides the resources and environment for the development of new genetic, nutritional, and pharmacological interventions designed to modify aging processes, characterizes the pathological status of transgenic animal models, and promotes novel approaches to the study of aging by providing researchers with funds for pilot projects.

  • San Antonio Interventions Testing Program

The San Antonio Aging Intervention Testing Program (ITP) is one of three centers funded by the Biology of Aging Program of the National Institute on Aging (NIA) to evaluate treatment strategies likely to prevent or delay adverse age-dependent changes in cells and tissues and diminish the burden of disease in old age. The Program studies the effects of compounds added to the diet of genetically heterogeneous mice on lifespan and healthspan studies, collaborating with other programs at the University of Michigan and the Jackson Laboratory. These three sites work cooperatively to perform testing in parallel and to contribute their unique strengths and expertise to the program. The ITP sites have unique expertise in pathology, analytical pharmacology, statistical analysis, and mouse protocol development.

  • Ph.D. in the Biology of Aging

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences offers a Discipline in the Biology of Aging that provides graduate students with a unique curriculum designed to educate them in the basic biology of aging, thereby preparing them to thrive at a unique interface of bioscience and medicine. The program will encompass lectures and laboratory experience in molecular, cellular, and physiological mechanisms of aging. Students receive a stipend along with paid tuition, fees and basic student health insurance which are covered by the program.

  • NIA Training Program for Research Scientists in the Biology of Aging

The NIA Training Program embodies the departments of Physiology, Cellular and Structural Biology, Pathology, and Pharmacology of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences as well as the Dental and Medical Schools of the UT Health Science Center. This program provides stipends and training to pre- and postdoctoral fellows who are interested in basic research that holds promise for practical application towards lifespan intervention. This training program for research scientists covers such areas as the genetics of aging, lifespan, and intervention analyses in animal models and age-related diseases.

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