Hepple receives funding from Florida Department of Health

headshot photo of Dr. Russ Hepple
Dr. Russ Hepple

Russ Hepple, PhD, professor in the Department of Physical Therapy, and co-PI Terence Ryan,PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Applied Physiology & Kinesiology, recently received funding from the James and Esther King Biomedical Research Program in Florida Department of Health.

This 3-year study titled, “Role of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor in tobacco smoke-induced skeletal muscle atrophy,” aims to identify mechanisms by which chronic activation of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor causes atrophy of skeletal muscle. The scientific premise for this project is that low muscle mass and strength exacerbate health outcomes, including increasing the risk of premature mortality, in patients with smoking-related diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The project is thus focused upon identifying critical mechanisms by which tobacco smoke exposure adversely affects skeletal muscle to provide a basis for development of novel therapeutic strategies to improve patient outcomes.