Researchers receive NIH grant to map molecular changes linked to physical movement

A research team led by Robert Gerszten, MD, Chief of Cardiovascular Medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and a Senior Associate Member of the Broad Institute, has received an award of more than $11 million as part of the Molecular Transducers of Physical Activity in Humans (MoTrPAC) consortium, a large-scale initiative of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to investigate and map the molecular changes that occur in our bodies during and after exercise. This national research consortium seeks to advance our understanding of how physical activity improves and preserves health.

Gerszten is a leader in the field of metabolomics research, the analysis of small molecules in the blood that determine how the body burns fuel. He will serve as a principal investigator of a MoTrPAC research team that will extensively analyze tens of thousands of blood and tissue samples from both humans and rodents using sophisticated proteomic and metabolomic technologies. Human samples will include people of different races, ethnic groups, genders, ages and fitness levels.

"We know that exercise is good for us, but we don't know the molecular changes that occur when a person is physically active," said Gerszten, who will oversee one of the consortium's seven chemical analysis sites. "MoTrPAC will enable us to comprehensively map the changes that take place in the body during physical movement, with the ultimate goal of tailoring exercise programs to the individual in a highly precise way."

This so-called molecular map will contain the many molecular signals that transmit the health effects of physical activity, and indicate how they are impacted by age, gender, body composition, fitness level and exposure to exercise.


Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center


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