Dr. Vitor Lira, Associate Professor in the Department of Health and Human Physiology is the recipient of a High-priority, short term project award (R56) from the National Institutes of Aging of the National Institutes of Health. The one year award of $563,723 will study “Molecular Regulation of Protein Turnover in Skeletal Muscle”.
Summary: Aging-related skeletal muscle atrophy and weakness, also referred to as sarcopenia, affects millions of people contributing to the development of several chronic conditions associated with poor health, such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and neurodegenerative diseases. Although sarcopenia remains poorly understood and lacks effective therapy, aged muscles present clear signs of proteotoxicity associated with poor protein turnover or recycling. We have uncovered ULK2 as a new protein modulating turnover of defective proteins in skeletal muscle, and ULK2 activity seems to be deficient in aged muscle. Therefore, by studying how ULK2 works, we hope to better understand how aging impairs protein turnover in muscle, thereby potentially identifying new ways to mitigate muscle atrophy and weakness in the elderly.
Congratulations Dr. Lira!