Nathan K. LeBrasseur, M.S., Ph.D., 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.
Dr. LeBrasseur examines how beneficial and maladaptive alterations in muscle quantity, quality or both impact muscle performance and physical function as well as metabolic homeostasis.
- Myostatin (GDF-8). The therapeutic effects of exercise are unmatched; hence, Dr. LeBrasseur and colleagues are exploring what molecular aspects of endurance and resistance exercise should be mimicked or augmented by novel interventions. They have focused on a TGF-beta 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 type 2 diabetes.
Significance to patient care
Dr. LeBrasseur's 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 health span, and to enhance the metabolic properties of muscle to ameliorate type 2 diabetes mellitus and its comorbidities.