Exercise science was promoted to new levels of scientific consideration at the UAB Center for Exercise Medicine’s first research symposium recently.
The meeting brought together people from diverse disciplines not typically considered prime areas for research on exercise, such as neuroscience and psychiatry.
“We want people to think about exercise as a tool for research, a way to fill gaps in knowledge,” said Marcas Bamman, Ph.D., director of the Center and professor in the Department of Cell, Developmental and Integrative Biology.
“The symposium was an important venue to gather like-minded scientists who have a real interest in exercise but come at it from a different disease focus. There were diabetes and metabolism researchers talking to heart failure researchers and neuroscientists,” Bamman said. “Traumatic brain injury, mechanical ventilation, circadian rhythms and exercise—there are a lot of ways to apply exercise research to a particular discipline.”
However, for researchers in disciplines long associated with exercise, Bamman said there are a lot of questions remaining.
“How does exercise affect cell signaling? If it's a chronic disease does exercise act in a synergistic way with current medical therapy. Can a specific dose of exercise reduce the need or the dosage of medication? If exercise reduces the risk of insulin dependence, how does it do that? What's the mechanism, and can that knowledge lead to a target for drug development?” he said.
Many of the symposium’s attendees came from outside UAB. A contingent of 10 students and faculty from Auburn made the trip, as did people from Georgia and across Alabama. “We wanted to demonstrate for people not familiar with UAB how much high quality research is going on here.”
Also attending were the Center’s external advisory panel – P. Darrell Neufer, Ph.D., from East Carolina University; Charlotte Peterson, Ph.D., from the University of Kentucky; and Scott Powers, Ed.D., Ph.D., from the University of Florida, who gave a keynote address.
The symposium “exceeded our expectations,” Bamman said. “We have a great opportunity for this to be an annual regional meeting.”
To see photos from the symposium and read about poster winners, go to the Center’s Facebook page.