GALVESTON, Texas — The Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston has received a $5.8 million renewal of its grant from the National Institute on Aging.   “With this renewal of our grant for the next five years, we will focus on improving full and speedy recovery of older patients who suffer bouts of illness,” said Dr. Elena Volpi, new director and principal investigator of the Pepper Center. She succeeds Dr. James S. Goodwin, director of UTMB’s Sealy Center on Aging. Since UTMB’s Pepper Center opened in 2000, its investigators have generated more than 300 scientific papers. The center, which is one of 12 in the nation, has a roster of 37 investigators.  “In addition to this grant from NIA, which funds the Pepper Center infrastructure, our researchers bring more than $20 million in grants to UTMB, mostly from the National Institutes of Health,” Volpi said.