Research Team

As principal investigator in the Muscle Physiology and Metabolism Laboratory, Dr. Lanza leads a research team that's advancing exercise physiology research in the context of aging and metabolic disease. Through translational studies in humans and laboratory-based preclinical studies, Dr. Lanza aims to uncover novel therapeutic strategies and underlying mechanisms to help prevent the metabolic abnormalities and physical deterioration that are hallmarks of aging.

Here's our lab's talented research team.

Ian R. Lanza, Ph.D.

Dr. Lanza is an associate professor of medicine at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science in Rochester, Minnesota. His primary appointment is within the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, Metabolism, & Nutrition in the Department of Internal Medicine, with a joint appointment in the Department of Physiology and Biomedical Engineering. He is also the director of the Mayo Clinic Metabolomics Core, which provides analytical services for small molecule detection and quantitation by mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Dr. Lanza is a distance runner (emeritus) and has recently come to appreciate a good cup of coffee.

Hinnah R. Abid

Hinnah is a Ph.D. student in the Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences in the clinical and translational science track. Her research focuses on understanding the influence of the cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6) on skeletal muscle physiology. Interleukin-6 is unique among many cytokines because it's found in high levels in circulation in older adults and people who are obese, yet skeletal muscle releases IL-6 during exercise. The goal of Hinnah's project is to understand how IL-6 signaling works in skeletal muscle and how it influences skeletal muscle mitochondrial biology.

Hinnah graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2015 with a B.S. in biomedical engineering. Her anticipated Ph.D. completion date is late 2019. Hinnah speaks five languages and is one of the most passionate Minnesota Vikings fans in the world.

Kevin J. Gries, Ph.D.

Dr. Gries is a postdoctoral fellow in our lab exploring research on skeletal muscle physiology and how muscle responds to acute and chronic exercise and aging. Dr. Gries is helping lead a clinical study that will help us understand differences in how young and old respond to exercise and discover strategies to enhance exercise-induced adaptations, including single muscle fiber physiology (size, function and type), metabolism and tissue cross-talk between skeletal muscle and adipose tissue.

Dr. Gries received a B.S. in exercise physiology from Concordia University of Wisconsin, an M.S. in human performance from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, and a Ph.D. in human bioenergetics from Ball State University in Indiana. Dr. Gries also tries to leverage his research to understand how he can become a better distance runner and prevent the aging response.

Corey R. Hart, Ph.D.

Dr. Hart is a research collaborator in our lab. His research project is focused on characterizing the molecular and cellular events that occur in skeletal muscle in the hours after an acute bout of unaccustomed exercise (specifically, single-leg cycling). He is particularly interested in understanding how obesity and associated chronic inflammation influence the molecular response to exercise in skeletal muscle.

Dr. Hart completed undergraduate (B.S.) and graduate (M.S.) training in exercise science at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. He completed his Ph.D. in 2016 at the University of Utah. He completed his postdoctoral training with Dr. Lanza in 2018 and is currently employed as a research scientist in the Integrated Health & Performance Sciences Division of Universal Engineering Sciences. Dr. Hart has a previous life as a professional cyclist and can still outrace feral dogs.

Hawley E. Kunz, Ph.D.

Dr. Kunz, a postdoctoral research fellow, has a background as an exercise immunologist and is currently spearheading a major clinical study that's designed to better define the molecular responses to exercise in both young and older adults. The project is designed to evaluate the influence of chronic inflammation on skeletal muscle mitochondrial function and anabolic responses to resistance exercise. Dr. Kunz has a keen interest in the role of immune cells as regulators of exercise response in skeletal muscle.

Dr. Kunz completed her undergraduate training in biology (B.S.) at Mercer University, followed by a Ph.D. in kinesiology at the University of Houston. Before coming to Mayo Clinic for postdoctoral training, she worked as a scientist at the NASA Immunology and Biochemistry Laboratory at the Johnson Space Center. Dr. Kunz knows how to pipette in microgravity.

Nathan Lien, Ph.D.

Dr. Lien is an analytical chemist and associate professor of chemistry at Saint Mary's University of Minnesota. He is completing a sabbatical in our lab, where he's developing a novel mass spectrometry assay to detect and quantify modified cytosine molecules. Dr. Lien completed a B.A. in chemistry from Wartburg College and then a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Iowa.

Kimberly S. Osmundson, CCRP

Kimberly Osmundson is a clinical research coordinator who oversees the day-to-day logistics and coordination of the clinical studies in our lab. She's responsible for participant recruitment, scheduling, screening and consenting, and handles all the regulatory aspects of our research projects.

Mojtaba Parvizi, D.V.M., Ph.D.

Dr. Parvizi is a senior research fellow with an interest in regenerative medicine, aging and senescence, and the cardiovascular system. He's working on preclinical, basic science projects to better characterize the influence of aging on local inflammatory pathways in skeletal muscle. Another area of particular interest is the role of cellular senescence on aneurysm formation and progression. He has expertise in stem cell biology, xenogenic scaffolds and model systems.

Dr. Parvizi completed his veterinary training at Islamic Azad University, Tabriz Branch in Iran and received a Ph.D. in cardiovascular tissue engineering and regenerative medicine at the University of Groningen.

Zachary C. Ryan

Mr. Ryan is a senior research technologist who oversees all day-to-day laboratory operations and has expertise in tissue culture, mitochondrial physiology assays and molecular biology. He oversees analysis and quality control of high-resolution respirometry measurements in isolated mitochondria and permeabilized muscle tissue samples from human muscle biopsies. He enjoys playing in the dirt and challenging himself in obstacle course races.

Roberta (Bobbie) A. Soderberg and Vicky A. Wade

Mrs. Soderberg and Mrs. Wade are research assistants who joined forces to provide clinical support during skeletal muscle and fat biopsy procedures. They're also responsible for organization and inventory of biological samples collected in our lab.

Xiaoyan Zhang, M.D.

Dr. Zhang is a visiting scientist. She is a staff geriatrician and associate professor of geriatrics at Shanghai Jiao Tong University Affiliated Sixth People's Hospital in China. She joined our laboratory for a sabbatical to learn fundamentals of laboratory-based measurements of mitochondrial physiology. She's responsible for performing measurements of respiration and reactive oxygen species production in permeabilized muscle fibers and tissue culture.