Texas Tech University

Michael Massett, Ph.D.

Michael MassettResearcher: Michael Massett, Ph.D.

Title: Associate Professor

Laboratory: Room 120, Physiological Genomics Laboratory



Personal Statement

Dr. Massett currently directs the Physiological Genomics Laboratory in the Department of Kinesiology and Sport Management.  He earned his Ph.D. in Exercise Science from the University of Iowa.  He completed postdoctoral training at New York Medical College and the University of Rochester Medical School.  He has a broad background in cardiovascular and exercise physiology and specific expertise in assessing vascular function in large and small blood vessels.  He also has experience using genetic approaches to identify biological mediators of the adaptations to exercise training.  Dr. Massett has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association.  The overall research focus of the laboratory is to identify biological mediators of the adaptations to exercise using a combination of genetic/genomic and physiological approaches.

Cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, cancer, and Alzheimer's disease rank within the top fifteen causes of death in the US.  All have been linked to low levels of cardiorespiratory fitness.  The overall goal of our research is to identify novel pathways contributing to the beneficial effects of exercise that could provide insight into the mechanisms underlying chronic diseases associated with low levels of fitness.  We currently have two primary areas of research focus:

Genetics of vasomotor function

Endothelial dysfunction is a predictor of future cardiovascular events and also contributes to the pathology of chronic diseases including diabetes, chronic kidney disease, and Alzheimer's disease. The goals of this ongoing research are to assess vascular function along the vascular tree and determine the influence of sex and genetic background on vascular function in blood vessels of differing size.  Understanding how genetics affects blood vessel function throughout the vascular system is a first step in identifying novel factors contributing to impaired blood vessel function and elevated risk for cardiovascular disease.  Future studies is this area will include: 1) investigating the signaling pathways involved in sex-dependent and genetic background-specific differences in vasomotor function; 2) identifying potential novel genes influencing genetic differences in vasomotor function using various genetic, genomic, biochemical and molecular biological techniques; and 3) investigating the interaction between sex, genetic background, and exercise training on vasomotor function.

Genomic/genetic approaches to identify genes associated with exercise capacity and responses to training

Improving cardiorespiratory fitness through increased physical activity can significantly reduce the risk of all-cause mortality, regardless of initial fitness level. However, the responses to exercise training are highly variable such that in some individuals exercise capacity, i.e., cardiorespiratory fitness, improves minimally or not at all, with the percentage of non-responders ranging from 7-45%.  The genetic factors responsible for individual variation in exercise capacity and exercise training responses are not known.  Current and future studies are focused on elucidating the genetic basis for individual variation in exercise capacity and the responses to training.

Department of Kinesiology & Sport Management

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