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Skidmore College
Health and Human Physiological Sciences

National Institute of Health -

Academic Research Enhancement Award

Skidmore College received a grant from the National Institutes of Health to study the regulation of muscle mass with advancing age. T.H. Reynolds, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Exercise Science, is the principal investigator of the project entitled “Age Related Insulin Resistance, Akt/PKB, and Skeletal Muscle Proteolysis. A key component of the grant is to provide undergraduate students an opportunity to get “hands-on” experience conducting bio-medical research. In the end this will facilitate a greater number of students who pursue health-related research careers. 

The primary scientific aim of the grant is to identify a cellular link between two devastating public health problems: sarcopenia and type 2 diabetes. Sarcopenia is a term used to describe the loss of muscle mass with advancing age and type 2 diabetes is a disease where insulin looses its ability to lower blood glucose. Similar to sarcopenia, individuals become more susceptible to type 2 diabetes with advancing age.  Professor Reynolds is attempting to identify how changes in insulin’s ability to lower blood glucose could also play a role in the development of sarcopenia. The connection may be related to the activity of a protein termed Akt/PKB. Akt/PKB appears to be an essential protein for insulin to lower blood glucose and to prevent the breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue.