Dr. Brooks received her B.S.E. in Engineering Science from the University of Michigan and then pursued graduate studies in Biomedical Engineering also at the University of Michigan. Following postdoctoral studies at the Institute of Gerontology, she joined the faculty in Physiology. In addition to her primary appointment in the Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology, she holds a joint appointment the Department of Biomedical Engineering.
Areas of Interest
My research spans the organism, tissue, cellular and molecular levels and typically combines in vivo and in vitro approaches to investigate the impact of aging, exercise, disease, and changes in loading environment on structure-function relationships in skeletal muscle and tendon. A decrease with aging in muscle mass results from a loss of muscle fibers due to a loss of motor units. In addition to the muscle atrophy, unexplained muscle weakness remains when force is normalized by muscle cross-sectional area. The cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying muscle atrophy and weakness are studied in aging rodents. The mechanisms underlying differences in susceptibility to injury of muscles and tendons are also under active investigation. Exercise-induced skeletal muscle injury is initiated by the mechanical disruption of the muscle fiber ultrastructure. The initial mechanical damage initiates a cascade of events including an inflammatory response and degeneration of the damaged fibers. Understanding the tissue, cellular, and molecular adaptations responsible for the protection from injury provided by exercise training, especially the role of inflammation in initiating protective adaptations, is of particular interest.
Honors & Awards
- University of Michigan School of Medicine, Endowment for the Basic Sciences Teaching Award
- Lydia Adams Dewitt Research Award
- Brookdale Foundation National Fellowship
- Cindy Yoder Research Award for Biology and Engineering
- Ph.D. University of Michigan, 1992