My lab studies mechanisms by which over nutrition and sedentary behavior influence bone development and skeletal adaptations to exercise training. Exercise can improve bone mass and quality, in part, through the application of mechanical loads onto the skeleton. However, it is less clear whether exercise has positive benefits on the metabolic function of bone cells, in the manner that is observed in soft tissues. Further, it is unclear whether metabolic dysfunction impairs the skeleton’s ability to appropriately detect and respond to mechanical loading. We take a translational approach that spans from basic to preclinical to clinical research to understand the role of fat trafficking and metabolism in bone to obtaining and maintaining a fracture-resistant skeleton. My lab is also developing novel strategies aimed at preserving musculoskeletal function after limb loss. My research is currently primarily funded through a CCTSI K12 and ASBMR Rising Star Awards.
Childhood obesity became more common over the last 30 years. Factors associated with obesity are also associated with lower bone quality during youth. This, combined with bone loss with aging and menopause, can markedly increase fracture risk over a lifespan. Optimizing strategies to improve both whole body metabolic health and bone health are of utmost importance. A vulnerable population for rapid bone loss is those with limb loss. There is an unmet need for prosthetic and rehabilitation strategies to preserve musculoskeletal function after amputation. Our active research areas are outlined below.
Sherk VD, Jackman MR, Higgins JA, Giles ED, Foright RM, Presby DM, Carpenter RD, Johnson GC, Oljira R, Houck JA, MacLean PS. Impact of Exercise and Activity on Weight Regain and Musculoskeletal Health PostOVX. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2019 Jul 3;. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000002082. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 31274683.
Presby DM, Jackman MR, Rudolph MC, Sherk VD, Foright RM, Houck JA, Johnson GC, Orlicky DJ, Melanson EL, Higgins JA, MacLean PS. Compensation for cold-induced thermogenesis during weight loss maintenance and regain. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2019 May 1;316(5):E977-E986. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00543.2018. Epub 2019 Mar 26. PubMed PMID: 30912962; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6580173.
Sherk VD, Rosen CJ. Senescent and apoptotic osteocytes and aging: Exercise to the rescue?. Bone. 2019 Apr;121:255-258. doi: 10.1016/j.bone.2019.02.006. Epub 2019 Feb 6. PubMed PMID: 30735796; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6459182.