Good day alabama websiteMarcas Bamman, PhD, FACSM, Director of the UAB Center for Exercise Medicine was interviewed by WBRC FOX 6 News’ Good Day Alabama anchor Mike Dubberly on Wednesday, July 8, 2020. Dr. Bamman highlighted the importance of the Molecular Transducers of Physical Activity Consortium (MoTrPAC) study and explained what the researchers are trying to understand from the results of the study.

Mike Dubberly: We know exercise can transform your body but researchers at UAB are studying what happens on a molecular level when you work out. Dr. Marcas Bamman is the Director of the UAB Center for Exercise Medicine. He joins us now by Facetime. Doctor, it’s good to have you with us this morning.

Dr. Bamman: Thank you very much!

Mike Dubberly: Definitely! In layman’s terms, explain to our viewers what you are looking at in this study.

Dr. Bamman: So, we have known for a long time that exercise has numerous health benefits, right? It is important in disease prevention. It is also important in disease treatment and this ranges from brain diseases to cancers to heart disease and the list goes on. What we have never really understood is how at the cellular level and even at the molecular level what is being turned on and being turned off when we exercise that would result in this health benefit that we are trying to capitalize on. So, this is a really important effort. It’s actually the largest investment our government has ever made to understand how exercise is leading to all these wonderful health benefits that we have come to learn and know.

Mike Dubberly: And this looks like a rather comprehensive study here of using a very large sample size. Explain a little further though why this is so crucial long term.

Dr. Bamman: I think it is crucial long term because the more we understand about how exercise leads to a given health benefit - whether that’s reducing diabetes risk, treating high blood pressure, etc. We can then begin to more precisely prescribe exercise to best treat that individual who is either benefitting in a certain molecular way or perhaps benefitting in a different molecular way. So, we want to understand at the individual level what is being activated that will help that person in their course of either treatment or prevention.

Mike Dubberly: Well, that’s huge. This can help people make better decisions of what form of exercise is best for them. That’s a game changer. We do know that different bodies react differently to certain types of exercise. Is some of that due to genetics that we already have the answer to?

Dr. Bamman: Some of it actually is genetic Mike, but I will say it’s beyond that. It’s how we actually express our genes. So, even though you and I have some subtle differences in our genetic makeup, most of our genes are very much in common. And so, the difference is between the way you and I look, think, talk, behave or how we express our genes. In this project, we are studying those processes in a large group of people to be able to understand the impact. I call it sort of – what “genes” are you wearing? What brand of “genes” are you wearing? We want to understand if your brand of genes is different from mine, how that impacts these outcomes.

Mike Dubberly: We got to quickly wrap up. I just have one quick question. I know this is on hold just for now because of COVID. Are you looking for volunteers and what should they expect?

Dr. Bamman: Yes, we are. We are actually looking for two groups of people. The largest group are people who are not regularly exercising. We want to actually recruit those people and train them for 12 weeks. The other group are people who are already trained because we want to compare their effects to those who are not yet exercise trained. So, we are actively recruiting. The study will kick off again probably in early August and as we are dealing with our re-start programs in the UAB School of Medicine.

Mike Dubberly: Dr. Marcas Bamman, again the director of the UAB Center for Exercise Medicine. So, if you are interested in taking part in volunteering, that is the department to contact. Doctor, thank you!

Dr. Bamman: Thank you, Sir. Take care.