For immediate release: March 30, 2007

GALVESTON, Texas - Elizabeth J. Protas, interim dean of the School of Allied Health Sciences at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, has received the Herbert deVries Research Award for Distinguished Research on Aging from the Council on Aging and Adult Development. The award was presented March 15 at the national convention of the American Alliance for Physical Education, Health, Recreation and Dance in Baltimore, Md.

Protas, along with T. Brock Symons, a post-doctoral fellow in the Division of Rehabilitation Sciences, made presentations at the conference. Protas' presentation focused on the positive effects of exercise and nutrition on aging muscles. She outlined the results of a study she conducted that was designed to mitigate the loss of strength and function in mobility impaired elders. UTMB's Center for Rehabilitation Sciences funded the study.

Symons' presentation focused on two studies he has done on nutrition in aging populations since coming to UTMB. One has to do with the effect on muscle function of essential amino acids. This study, funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Aging, concluded that essential amino acid supplements had little effect. In a second study, funded by the Beef Council, Symons found that age doesn't impair the metabolism of protein-rich lean beef served in 4-ounce portions.

"I don't know of another venue that has the recipient present a talk with a protégé," Protas said. "The format was a wonderful opportunity to highlight the exceptional quality of research conducted by our fellows and post docs."
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