Anna Thalacker MercerAnna Thalacker-Mercer, PhD, assistant professor in the UAB Department of Cell, Developmental and Integrative Biology has been appointed as the Associate Director of UCEM.

Dr. Thalacker-Mercer has been very active with UAB since her postdoctoral fellowship at UAB in 2007 under the mentorship of Marcas Bamman, PhD, Founding Director of UCEM.

“I’m very excited to have Dr. Thalacker-Mercer take this new leadership role within UCEM,” said Thomas Buford, Director of UCEM. “She is an outstanding scientist with a strong history at UAB and a heart for connecting people in related disciplines. I’m excited to see all the exciting ideas and initiatives she will bring to the center.”

Dr. Thalacker-Mercer received her doctorate degree through the Interdepartmental Nutrition Program in the Department of Nutrition Science (formerly Foods and Nutrition) at Purdue University where she developed a strong background in geriatric nutrition and the mechanisms underlying aging skeletal muscle. She continued her research training as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Nutrition Obesity Research Center, the Center for Aging Translational Research Program, and UCEM. During her postdoctoral training, she focused on the mechanisms underlying (i) impaired skeletal muscle regeneration with age and (ii) the heterogeneity in exercise-induced myofiber hypertrophy. From UAB, Dr. Thalacker-Mercer transitioned to the Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University where she established her research program in identifying and understanding variations in nutrient and metabolic determinants of skeletal muscle regeneration and deterioration that occur with advancing age and disease.

Her research program at UAB looks at identifying and understanding nutrient and metabolic determinants of skeletal muscle (SkM) regeneration and atrophy. This objective is achieved by 1) examining nutrient requirements and the metabolic signature of SkM stem/ progenitor cell expansion; 2) characterizing novel metabolic and molecular regulators of cell expansion, differentiation, and myotube formation; and 3) developing optimal nutrition and anti-inflammatory therapies to improve SkM health. To address these, her program utilizes human and mouse, primary skeletal muscle cell cultures and muscle tissue coupled with state-of-the-art imaging and –omics techniques and technologies.