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Applied Physiology & Tissue Mechanisms Resource Core (RC2)

Cardiovascular deconditioning, chronic inflammation, and endocrine-metabolic dysfunction are inherent to the pathophysiology of the physical impairments in older persons hindered by disabling chronic diseases of aging.  Sarcopenia, poor fitness, inflammation, metabolic syndrome, and acute events related to disability such as falls, stroke, and hip fracture occur with advancing age which may worsen mobility and increase risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and metabolic abnormalities.  Our hypothesis is that exercise and activity-based rehabilitation can improve multiple physiological systems in older, mobility-limited indviduals leading to improved functional performance, reduced cardiometabolic risk, and prevention of functional decline.  By determining the composition, molecular, and metabolic abnormalities in skeletal muscle, adipose tissue, and vascular endothelium, and their response to exercise rehabilitation, we can optimize exercise interventions to improve muscle structure, function metabolism, and CVD risk profiles in older adults with these chronic conditions.  Exercise interventions may potentially reduce risk and delay chronic disability in older adults.

To achieve this goal, we have implemented the following specific aims:

Provide research support in the performance of applied exercise physiology and tissue mechanisms research relevant to exercise–based restoration of function and prevention of functional declines in older people with chronic disabling diseases through:

  • participation in research working groups (RWGs) which provide educational and consultative resources to UM-OAIC junior and senior investigators in the design and implementation of their research;
  • clinical applied training in translational research and the assessment of cardiovascular and physiological outcomes of exercise rehabilitation in aging; and
  • laboratory training of standardized core methodologies in order to gain expertise in the performance of metabolic testing and cellular and molecular assays at the bench to facilitate their translational research.

Facilitate the conduct of musculoskeletal and tissue mechanistic exercise rehabilitation and preventive biomedical research in aging and disability through:

  • patient recruitment, the performance of medical assessments and cardiovascular screening of research volunteers to ensure patient safety and eligibility for research protocols;
  • the development and testing of novel exercise-based interventions (aerobic, resistance, multi-modal training) and collaborations with rehabilitation science in RC3; and
  • the clinical, cardiometabolic and functional profiles at the whole body adn tissue level before and after exercise training. 

The charaterization of the clinical and metabolic phenotype(s) of individuals with stroke, hip fracture and other chronic discabling diseases in RC2 has allowed UM-OAIC investigators to develop successful specific exercise rehabilitation strategies to improve functional and clinical outcomes.  Thus this core, in collaboration with the other OAIC cores, continue to support innovative research studies examining the mechanisms and physiological effects of multisystem rehabilitation and preventive strategies on functional and physiological outcomes in older adults aging with chronic disabilities with translation of these outcomes in novel clinical trials.

Core Leader

Alice Ryan, PhD
Telephone: 410-605-7851

Core Co-Leader

Les Katzel, MD, PhD
Telephone: 410-605-7248


Alan Faden, MD
Telephone: 410-706-4205

Charlene Hafer-Macko, MD
Telephone: 410-605-7000 ext.55451

Brajesh Lal, MD
Telephone: 410-328-5840

Richard Macko, MD
Telephone: 410-605-7063

Heidi Ortmeyer, PhD
Telephone: 410-605-7000 ext.55419

Steven Prior, PhD
Telephone: 410-605-7000 ext.54129

Shari Waldstein, PhD
Telephone: 410-455-2374