Our Mission

Imagine living with strength and vitality throughout your life span, growing older with vigor and without a disability. The Sam and Ann Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies brings together the world’s leading scientists in aging and longevity research and providing them with the latest technologies in the application of cutting-edge research methods, supports their drive for excellence in scientific inquiry, an essential element to bringing good health and enhanced quality of life to our aging population.

Aging affects everyone. Never before in the history of humankind has understood how and why we age been so important. As human life expectancy continues to increase, so must our scientific knowledge of aging processes to ensure healthy longevity, free of the disabilities brought about by age-related diseases and conditions.

Our Mission is to understand the basic biology of aging, discover therapies that will treat and cure the diseases of aging by fostering dynamic, collaborative research, education, and training of our future scientists and clinicians, as well as promoting public awareness of age-related issues.

Our Vision

This vision of a world-class center for aging research first came into focus in 1991, when Dr. Edward J. Masoro founded the UT Health Science Center’s Aging Research and Education Center through a leadership award granted to him by the National Institutes of Health.

In 2001, the Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies was born thanks to a generous donation from Mr. and Mrs. Sam Barshop, prominent San Antonio philanthropists. Dr. Volpi and the faculty members at the Barshop Institute are extremely grateful to Mr. and Mrs. Barshop for their vision and steadfast support in helping to develop the Barshop Institute into an unparalleled center for studies of aging and age-related diseases.

Meet Our Director

Elena Volpi, MD, PhD, FGSA, is a physician-scientist with a long-standing interest in improving the health and function of older adults by translating basic research discoveries into clinical practice.  She completed her medical training, board certification in endocrinology, and PhD in Applied Pathophysiology at the University of Perugia, Italy. She then moved to the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) at Galveston for her post-doctoral training in gerontology and metabolism, after which she became a faculty at the University of Southern California before returning to UTMB. While at UTMB she served as the director of the UTMB Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center for 13 years, and the director of the Sealy Center on Aging for 9 years.  In 2023, she moved to UT Health San Antonio as the director of the Sam and Ann Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies, the director of the San Antonio Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center, and a tenured professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Geriatrics, Gerontology and Palliative Medicine.

Dr. Volpi’s research focuses on discovering the mechanisms that lead to sarcopenia, the involuntary loss of muscle mass and function with aging, and identifying and testing innovative nutritional, exercise, and pharmacological treatments to improve muscle anabolism and functional recovery in older adults.  She also leads clinical trials of interventions to improve recovery from hospitalization in geriatric patients, and has been leading clinical sites of large trials to test new interventions for dementia care, fall prevention, recovery from heart failure, and prevention of disability. She has participated in several national and international expert panels on nutrition in older adults, and in national and international review and advisory panels and editorial boards. She has received many honors and awards and is a fellow of the Gerontological Society of America and the European Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism. Dr. Volpi is also a dedicated mentor for students, post-doctoral fellows, and junior faculty, and is a practicing clinician with a focus on diabetes in older adults. Her long-term goal is to create a comprehensive program that will improve the health and longevity of older adults by rapidly translating the basic science discoveries on aging into clinical practice and training the next generation of leaders in aging research and geriatrics.

Elena Volpi, MD, PhD, FGSA

Our collaborative partners

Resources for geriatric clinical science and clinical practice are provided by the Department of Family and Community Medicine and the Department of Medicine, Division of Geriatrics, Gerontology, and Palliative Medicine.

Also, many of our Barshop faculty members are cross-appointed at the South Texas Veterans Health Care System, Audie L. Murphy Division, where the research division supports the Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center (GRECC). Our researchers and physician-scientists affiliated with the Audie Murphy VA Hospital are involved in a wide range of basic and clinical programs designed to promote healthy aging and quality of life.

Our Collaborative Partners Include:

Contact Us

Sam and Ann Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies
UT Health San Antonio
7703 Floyd Curl Drive, MC 7755
San Antonio, Texas 78229
Phone: 210-562-6140
Fax: 210-562-6150

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