Research in Dr. Brooks’ laboratory focuses on age-associated changes in skeletal muscle and tendon. We are particularly interested in the role of injury in the loss of muscle mass and strength with aging. In vivo and in vitro approaches are combined to determine the mechanisms underlying changes with aging in susceptibility to injury, muscle regenerative capacity, and the ability to induce protective adaptations. Specific focus is placed on the role of alterations in redox homeostasis in motor nerves and muscles in the initiation of degenerative changes at the neuromuscular junction that trigger denervation, muscle weakness and muscle fiberl loss. In addition, measures of protein expression, collagen content, and amino acid cross-linking are coupled with measurements of mechanical properties of tendons to define the changes in the structure, composition, and function of the extracellular matrix with aging and whether exercise or pharmacological interventions can prevent or reverse age-associated tendinopathy.
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