Our laboratory studies the genes and signaling pathways influencing skeletal muscle growth and metabolism and how their manipulation (by genetic alteration, diet, drugs or exercise) affects these physiological processes.
We examine how beneficial and maladaptive alterations in muscle quantity and/or quality impact 1) muscle performance and physical function; and 2) metabolic homeostasis. Our goal is to identify safe and effective ways to counter the loss of skeletal muscle with advancing age (sarcopenia) and numerous diseases (cachexia) as a means to improve healthspan
, and to enhance the metabolic properties of muscle to ameliorate type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and its comorbidities.
The therapeutic effects of exercise are unmatched; hence, we are exploring what molecular aspects of endurance and resistance exercise should be mimicked or augmented by novel interventions. Recently, we have focused on the TGF-ß superfamily member, myostatin (GDF-8), and its blockade as one potential strategy to augment muscle performance in later life as well as a means to improve glucose homeostasis and insulin sensitivity in individuals with T2DM.