The effect of aging on the neuromuscular system overall and skeletal muscle in particular has been my research focus. I have a firm commitment to helping the world become a better place for the aging population. One way to accomplish this is by trying to find ways to mitigate sarcopenia and frailty. Another important facet is to improve the ability of older adults to rehabilitate from debilitating injury. As the world population of adults over 65 increases exponentially, maintaining independence and functional performance, avoiding frailty and retaining a decent quality of life depends, in large part, upon the ability to maintain muscle mass and strength, and to be able to recover successfully from injury. Maintaining healthspan and life quality is a more important goal to me than extending lifespan. My lab is specializing in the physiology, biology and biochemistry of skeletal muscle, with an emphasis on exercise and rehabilitation, in conjunction with aging.
I have a personal attachment to this topic—in December of 2004, I was in a car accident and underwent rehabilitation for a back injury. As a building contractor with my own company, I was out of work for some months after the accident. Much of my therapy involved weight training, which led to my firm belief that exercise functions as regenerative medicine. Weight lifting has since become an integral part of my life. The experience during my rehabilitation and physical therapy sparked my interest in physical medicine and orthopedics. After my complete recovery and returning to oversee my construction business, I decided to return to college and, initially, focused on becoming a clinician. I soon realized, however, that my passion was for research and that my brightest future would involve running my own laboratory as a PI.