University of Vermont

Mark Miller receives NIH award to study causes of human aging

Release Date: 10-14-2008

Author: Dawn Densmore

Mark Miller, an adjunct teaching faculty in the UVM College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences (CEMS) and a research associate in the College of Medicine's Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics (MPBP), has received a five-year National Institutes of Health (NIH) K01 Mentored Research Scientist Development Award of approximately $600,000 to study single skeletal muscle fiber mechanics and myosin kinetics in human aging. Miller's work is in collaboration with Drs. Michael Toth, David Maughan and Bradley Palmer, also in the Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics.

"This study focuses on identifying the molecular mechanisms underlying age-related changes in human skeletal muscle fibers," says Miller. "Muscle fibers from the elderly produce less force and a reduced contractile velocity compared to young individuals, resulting in a decrease in mobility and an inability to perform day to day tasks." Miller's research on determining the age-related changes in molecular mechanisms at the single fiber level should aid in the development of exercise recommendations and medications that will allow individuals to live more productive, active lives.

"This collaborative research reflects our College's vision for innovation in education for the global community," says CEMS Dean Domenico Grasso, "in particular in improving the quality of life as we age. It dovetails well with UVM investments in interdisciplinary clinical research and bioengineering programs."