What we have learned about exercise and physiology at Cal
with Dr. George A. Brooks
Saturday August 20, 2016 at 11:00 AM
159 Mulford Hall, UC Berkeley
How the human body acquires, stores and uses chemical energy are basic processes, key to life. Indeed, the metabolism of a champion athlete, the aging individual, the person with several forms of chronic diseases and traumatic brain injury (TBI) patients are all governed by the same metabolic, biochemical and physiological processes. In his lecture Professor Brooks took a young man’s interest in studying exercise metabolism to a passion for studying metabolism in resting healthy men, and women at sea level and high altitude, in aging and after TBI. Along the way, some fundamental biological discoveries were made, and tens of graduate students and hundreds of undergraduates had their first experiences in biomedical research.
As a collegiate athlete George Brooks was very much interested in understanding physiology and biochemistry to improve is time in the 440 and 880 yard runs. When his competitive days were over Brooks took a post-doctoral fellowship in muscle biology and the University of Wisconsin and joined the UCB Faculty in July of 1971.
At Cal, Brooks retained an interest in understanding human performance during exercise and at high altitude, but he turned his attention his attention to studying basic metabolic processes to better understanding of human capabilities in health and disease. In recent years, Brooks and colleagues developed two working hypotheses: The Lactate Shuttle, and “Crossover Concept.” Research on the Lactate Shuttle as been to elucidate the pathways and controls of lactate (lactic acid) formation and removal before, during and after exercise. Most recent research shown that lactate is a favored brain fuel in healthy and injured persons and clinical research studies are under way to improve outcomes in traumatic brain injury patients using lactate supplementation. Research on the Crossover Concept has to describe and understand how the body selects combinations of fatty acids, carbohydrates and amino acids for use during sustained exercise and other conditions.
Aspects of our work involve the effects of exercise training, gender, age, and high altitude on substrate utilization. As a result, today we better understand that women are better adapted to use fats as fuel compared to men, and how fuel energy use shifts in aging. To support this work, significant research collaborations with other laboratories in the University of California and elsewhere have been established. These arrangements offer students, post-doctoral fellows, research staff, and visiting scientists the opportunity to work in an important and exciting area of science.
This free public talk is presented as part of the monthly “Science@Cal Lecture Series”
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