E. Todd Schroeder

PIBBS MENTOR

Assistant Professor

Biokinesiology & Physical Therapy
School of Dentistry

Research Topics

  • Muscle Physiology
  • Hormones
  • Metabolism
  • Body Composition

Research Overview

The process of aging is complex and involves the interaction of a number of variables, including genetics, lifestyle factors, chronic disease, and hormonal changes. Loss of muscle mass, referred to as sarcopenia, is an important complication of aging and is associated with loss of skeletal muscle strength, impaired functional capacity, increased risk of falls, and diminished quality of life. My investigations have focused on anabolic interventions (androgen therapy and resistance training) to increase muscle mass and strength, ultimately improving physical function and quality of life in older adults. Androgens (testosterone or semi-synthetic derivatives of testosterone) not only increase muscle protein synthesis but also reduce body fat and improve insulin sensitivity. Understanding the mechanisms by which androgens affect muscle and lipid metabolism in older adults is an important area of study and is currently receiving National media attention. While androgen supplementation is advantageous, only resistance training appears to provide a means to increase muscle quality (strength per unit of muscle mass) that results in a more efficient muscle capable of generating greater force relative to the size of the muscle. I am investigating the mechanisms whereby progressive resistance training and testosterone treatment stimulate protein synthesis and improve muscle quality in older persons. My additional research interests include understanding the mechanisms (signals/factors) associated with eccentric resistance exercise that induce hypertrophic adaptations and the implications of such exercise in women and older individuals to optimize rehabilitation.