David Clarke

Biomedical Physiology & Kinesiology



Exercise and muscle physiologySystems biologyComputational biologyStatistical design and analysis of experimentsProteomics

It is well known that people should exercise regularly in order to achieve optimal health and productivity. However, determining how much and how hard one should exercise are difficult questions to answer for a particular individual. My research program is devoted to developing new knowledge and tools to allow these questions to be answered for any individual with a specific health, fitness or performance goal.

My lab is pursuing the following two research objectives:

  1. Understand how skeletal muscle cells sense, integrate and coordinate the adaptations to the fundamental biochemical and biophysical stressors associated with exercise.
  2. Understand how human adaptations to exercise vary with exercise dose, time and additional interventions.

We apply a systems biology approach to the first objective by systematically perturbing cultured skeletal muscle cells and measuring their adaptations using high-throughput measurements of cellular proteins. We then analyze the data using statistical and network-modeling algorithms to infer how the biochemical network translates the stressor inputs into adaptation outputs.

We apply an engineering-inspired approach to the second objective by measuring exercise and outcome variables in human subjects over time, in concert with additional systematically applied interventions. We analyze the data using novel hybrid statistical-systems models, which decouple the various effects.

Our research is interdisciplinary in nature and is informed by the concepts and tools of exercise physiology, systems biology and biomedical engineering. Students and trainees can therefore expect a unique and rigorous training environment that will feature a mix of experimental and computational work, which will prepare them for future scientific or technical careers in academia, industry or government.