Research Interests: The primary goal of my research is to understand the role of autophagy in age-related muscle loss, and to test interventions to preserve muscle mass and health with age, such as calorie restriction and exercise. Autophagy is one of the degradative mechanisms that cells possess to clear intracellular “waste” and to prevent the accumulation of damaged and potentially toxic intracellular materials. When autophagy fails or becomes deregulated, however, cells might be seriously impacted by accumulating “waste” and die. I am particularly interested in the interrelationship of aging and autophagy in skeletal muscle.
My lab uses rodent and livestock models as well as cultured cell models to investigate the effects of aging and dietary and exercise interventions on skeletal muscle cells with special emphasis on autophagy and energy homeoastsis.
We are currently investigating in mammalian cells, specifically in muscle cells, cellular and subcellular mechanisms in response to aging, environmental toxins and other physiological stresses. A variety of mechanisms can be impacted and/or respond to stress, including cellular energy homeostasis and the cells’ housekeeping processes. The objectives of our research are to understand how cellular mechanisms involved in energy production and housekeeping are affected by aging and to investigate interventions by which cellular function can be preserved. Study objects include cells in culture as well as livestock animals. Students may learn a variety of techniques, including mitochondrial respirometry, cell culture, and protein biochemistry.
Requirements: One year each of biology and chemistry with an A grade in all lectures and labs. Lower division status preferred. Students from minority groups that are under-represented in the sciences are especially encouraged to apply.
Time Commitment: 12 hours per week minimum
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