The University of Maryland (UM) T32 training program in the "The Biology of Exercise in Aging" is mentor- based in an enriched academic environment with a multidisciplinary faculty and a strong curriculum to teach trainees the skills to become independent investigators. Training faculty are experienced, well-funded UM investigators studying the genetic, cellular, and molecular mechanisms by which exercise rehabilitation and diet affect cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk, cardiac fitness, fat and muscle metabolism, and physical function in aging.
The aims are to mentor trainees in the principles of clinical and basic laboratory investigation to study the molecular mechanisms by which aging and age-associated chronic diseases affect cardiometabolic and physical function, and are modifiable by interventions that will prevent complications of chronic CVD, type 2 diabetes (T2DM), metabolic syndrome and disability to optimize the physical function and cardiometabolic health of older people. To gain a translational research focus, trainees are jointly mentored by MD and PhD scientists to teach them the skills to 1) conduct translational mechanistic research in the biology of exercise, metabolism and aging, 2) use state of the art molecular, biochemical, genetic and genomic-proteomic lab techniques in the conduct of clinical and basic science research, 3) study the effects of age and cardiac fitness on the biology of obesity, T2DM and CVD, and 4) implement exercise, rehabilitation and dietary interventions to determine the mechanisms underlying health-related and functional outcomes in older people. The T32 curriculum provides training in 3 inter-related research tracks in a) exercise physiology, rehabilitation and cardiometabolic risk, b) adipose tissue and muscle biology, and c) genetics and genomics of age-associated diseases with resources for clinical and basic science research, and didactic courses and seminars in gerontology and geriatrics, biostatistics, research ethics and scientific writing. There are well-equipped exercise physiology testing and training facilities, clinical and basic lab space and core facilities tp provide the experience and knowledge to conduct clinical and basic investigation from the gene to the whole body level and study the effects of aging and exercise on preclinical mechanisms, functionality and rehabilitation outcomes. Training faculty receive guidance from T32 advisory committee of experienced faculty in interdisciplinary research and training. Trainees have offices, computers, research equipment, excellent libraries, and a graduate curriculum to enhance their mentor-based training.
This T32 will prepare trainees to study the mechanisms by which health promotion, disease prevention and rehabilitation strategies can improve the health of the elderly by reducing their risk for CVD and diabetes and improving their functional capacity. This will develop a new breed of academic leaders in aging research with the translational research skills to be successful clinical investigators.
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