My research focuses on cardiovascular adaptations to aging and exercise training, especially adaptations of the microcirculation in the heart and skeletal muscle that occur with aging. My research is also directed at understanding the mechanisms by which exercise training reverses microvascular dysfunction that occurs with disease and advancing age.
We are currently working to develop genetic rodent models in which signaling mechanisms that contribute to the cardiovascular benefits of exercise can be manipulated. We are particularly interested in signaling through the cytokine, adiponectin, and a transcription factor, Nrf2, which both play key roles in exercise-induced adaptations of the cardiovascular system across the lifespan.
In addition, my lab is working on a translational project in which we are evaluating the beneficial vascular adaptations that occur in response to regular muscle stretching. We have two ongoing clinical studies in which we are determining whether regular muscle stretching improves blood flow and oxygenation of lower limb muscles in patients with limited walking ability.