Darren P. Casey, PhD

Contact Information

Office: 1-252 MEB
Phone: 319-384-1009
Faculty Profile

Brief description of current research:

Skeletal muscle blood flow is a key determinant of exercise capacity in health and disease. During dynamic muscle contractions there is an increased metabolic demand that is matched closely by increases in skeletal muscle blood flow (exercise hyperemia) and oxygen delivery. However, in conditions such as aging and disease states like diabetes, skeletal muscle blood flow can be reduced and contribute to exercise intolerance. Our laboratory’s research is focused on investigating how aging and cardiovascular related diseases (including diabetes) affect endothelial and vascular function and how these alterations impact blood flow, exercise tolerance, and overall health in humans. Additionally, ongoing projects are aimed at investigating the effects of pharmacotherapy and lifestyle interventions (e.g. inorganic nitrate, exercise training) on skeletal muscle perfusion, vascular function, and exercise tolerance in older adults with and without cardiovascular related diseases.

3 most influential diabetes/obesity/metabolism publications:

  • ​Casey DP, Ueda K, Points LJ, Pierce GL. Muscle contraction induced arterial shear stress increases endothelial nitric oxide synthase phosphorylation in humans. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol  313(4): H854-H859, 2017
  • Hughes WE, Ueda K, Casey DP. Chronic Endurance Exercise Training Preserves Contraction-Induced Rapid Vasodilation in Older Adults J Appl Physiol: 2016 120(11):1335-42
  • Joyner MJ, Casey DP. Regulation of Increased Blood Flow (Hyperemia) to Muscles During Exercise: A Hierarchy of Competing Physiological Needs. Physiol Rev. 2015; 95: 549-601.


 The ability to perform physical activity and exercise are or should be essential components of everyday life. For exercise to be performed there must be adequate blood flow to the exercising muscles. Type 2 Diabetes is often associated with a reduced skeletal muscle blood flow during dynamic exercise as well as exercise intolerance. Therefore translational research aimed at developing interventions to improve skeletal muscle blood flow and exercise capacity in patients with type 2 diabetes is critical.