University of Wisconsin
School of Medicine and Public Health

Musculoskeletal Aging and Metabolism

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Dr. Adam Konopka

Understanding the mechanisms involved in onset and treatment of age-related disease

The laboratory of Adam Konopka, PhD, MS, uses a translational research approach to understand the mechanisms involved in the onset and treatment of age-related diseases. Konopka's research takes findings in basic science models such as tissue culture and rodent models and applies them to non-human primates and human clinical trials. The lab is currently interested in understanding how the mTOR signaling pathway is involved in the initiation and treatment of osteoarthritis. They are also investigating how skeletal muscle mitochondrial bioenergetics and remodeling are at the intersection of aging and healthspan-extending therapies.

Active Research Projects:

  • Developing the common marmoset as a translational model of age-related osteoarthritis (R21 AG067464). The goal of this NIH-funded study is to establish a new, non-human primate model that faithfully recapitulates naturally occurring osteoarthritis observed in the majority of older adults. We also aim to identify if mTOR and downstream targets are associated with the etiology and treatment of naturally occurring osteoarthritis.
  • Disentangling the contribution of mTOR complexes in age-related and post-traumatic osteoarthritis. The role of mTOR in osteoarthritis is incompletely understood. We aim to dissect the mechanisms by which mTOR mediates the onset and therapy of osteoarthritis using gain and loss of function experiments with selective and non-selective mTOR compounds in tissue culture and animal models.
  • Does insulin sensitivity impact the potential of metformin to slow aging? (R01 AG064951; Subcontract). In this NIH-funded, dual-site clinical trial, our goal is to determine if skeletal muscle mitochondrial remodeling and function serve as cellular mechanisms by which metformin regulates indices of healthspan in disease-free people.
  • Interaction of exercise and metformin in skeletal muscle and beyond. We are interested in collaborating with researchers at UW-Madison to expand beyond skeletal muscle and include other critical tissues involved in aging such as the brain. Collectively, this information will be used to 1) improve our understanding of how healthspan-extending strategies interact and 2) maximize positive outcomes and prevent detrimental outcomes in older individuals.

Dr. Konopka Faculty Biography

Dr. Konopka Lab Website