The Skeletal Muscle Physiology Laboratory, directed by Dr. LaDora V. Thompson, seeks to inform and/or help develop novel therapeutic strategies to combat sarcopenia and frailty that may occur with aging and disease. Sarcopenia is the loss of muscle mass that occurs with aging and, when severe, can contribute to frailty in the elderly which is associated with increased risk of falls, a decline in function and diminished overall health.
With the number of Americans over age 65 projected to double by 2060, health problems such as sarcopenia and frailty are of particular importance. Our research laboratory hopes to identify specific therapeutic targets within skeletal muscle to prevent, retard, or reverse the process of muscle degeneration and therefore help maintain overall health and function.
The Skeletal Muscle Physiology Laboratory uses mice to study the influence of muscle structure on overall health. We use established standards developed by Dr. Thompson that define and identify frailty in the mice and study the influence of specific skeletal muscle proteins on the function of individual muscle fibers. We hope to translate ongoing work done in the laboratory to develop treatments that can be used by physical therapists and other rehabilitation professionals to help individuals maintain health in aging.