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The Nutrition, Exercise Physiology, and Sarcopenia Team conducts studies aimed at the identification, evaluation, and understanding of nutritional and physical activity interventions that possess anabolic properties in skeletal muscle and have the potential to prevent or reverse impaired motor performance and/or physical dysfunction in older adults.

1. Investigate the nutritional and activity-related mediators of skeletal muscle atrophy associated with advancing age in animal and human studies.

  • Determine the mechanisms and efficacy of nutrient modulation on overload-induced skeletal muscle hypertrophy. Specifically, we will evaluate anabolic capacity and putative intracellular signaling mechanisms of selected micro- and macronutrients on skeletal muscle growth in aging animals.o Sub-objective
  • Perform parallel clinical studies to determine the influence of physical activity/exercise and nutrition on the control of muscle growth in older adults with defined low muscle mass and functional limitations.

2. Evaluate the chronic effects of dietary proteins/amino acids and physical activity/inactivity on changes in skeletal muscle structure and function and physical functioning in at-risk older individuals.

  • Determine the efficacy of selected nutritional and lifestyle behaviors on age-related changes in skeletal muscle physiology and physical functioning. A key feature of these studies will be our approach to evaluate these responses in populations of adults who, due to a multitude of co-morbidities and behaviors, are at the greatest risk for the development of late life disability.

Team Members
Roger A. Fielding, Ph.D.
Associate Center Director,  Lead Scientist, Senior Scientist
Research focus: Impact of exercise and physical activity on successful human aging; skeletal muscle alterations with advancing age in disabled and non-disabled populations; and age-related alterations in the control of skeletal muscle protein turnover

Donato Americo Rivas, Ph.D.

Scientist II
Research focus: The role of substrates on cellular signaling pathways controlling skeletal muscle metabolism and growth; and how nutrition, aging and exercise contribute to alterations in skeletal muscle energy homoeostasis

Michael Lustgarten, Ph.D.
Scientist II
Research focus: The role of the gut microbiome and serum metabolome on muscle mass and function in older adults

Fei Peng, B.S.Research Technician
Jenna Sills
Research Administrator
Samantha Jaffe, Research Technician
Brian Zappella, Staff Assistant
Sarah White
Research Coordinator
Andrea Miller, Affiliate - Program Administrator