New Muscle Wasting Research Holds Promise at UI

A hearty “Congratulations!” is in order for Dr. Christopher Adams, Professor of Endocrinology and Metabolism, and member of the FOE DRC who is the recipient of a five-year, $2.4M grant from the National Institutes of Health to study skeletal muscle atrophy. Dr. Adams holds an FOEDRC endowed chair, and this recent success underscores the important impact of the investment of the FOEDRC towards the ongoing success of his research program.  In preliminary studies, performed in mouse models, Dr. Adams and members of his lab identified the first example of a protein that is required for the loss of skeletal muscle mass, quality, strength, and endurance exercise capacity during aging: the transcription factor ATF4.

Muscle wasting is a very serious problem that affects millions of people as they become older and/or develop illnesses such as diabetes.  Unfortunately, however, muscle wasting is poorly understood and lacks a medical therapy.  The Adams’ Lab research is focused on a protein called ATF4, which acts as a switch that turns on genes that cause muscle wasting.  By studying how ATF4 works, we hope to understand how muscle wasting occurs and identify new ways to treat patients.