Inter-institutional Western States Consortium Pilot Award – Fall 2018

Richard Dennis

Richard Dennis, Ph.D.

Project Title: Protein Aggregation, Fat Accumulation, and Interventions for Sarcopenia

Richard Dennis, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Department of Geriatrics, UAMS College of Medicine and acting associate director for research at the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System. He is collaborating with Kate Kosmac, Ph.D., at the University of Kentucky on a research project that seeks to better determine the role protein plays in the longevity of aging muscle tissue. Loss of muscle mass in the elderly can result in disability, increased fall risk, and other health consequences. One common approach to maintaining muscle mass is resistance exercise training. But the effectiveness of resistance exercise varies significantly between individuals, and more research is needed to understand how resistance exercise training can be improved. Dennis’ research will be looking specifically at the cellular reactions surrounding protein aggregation. Protein aggregation is a cellular process associated with aging and disease in which cells lose their ability to deal with damaged proteins. Damaged proteins may interfere with the body’s metabolic processes, and the collection of these proteins (or aggregation) increases the risk of this interference. Dennis and Kosmac seek to better understand the relationship between protein aggregation and resistance exercise training and to eventually create a more effective exercise model for preventing age-related muscle loss.