July 2020 

Dr. Lira is promoted to Associate Professor with tenure.

The Lira lab contributes to a work led by Dr. Ling Yang's Lab from the University of Iowa demonstrating that sXBP1 modulates hepatic autophagy by modulating TFEB. This work was published in the journal Autophagy and can be seen here.


March 2020 

Dr. Lira Dr. becomes a member of the Research Review Committee of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).  

Congratulations to Jordan Fuqua and Matt Harris for being awarded Summer Fellowships from the University of Iowa Graduate College! 


January 2020 

Congratulations to Jordan Fuqua!! Jordan's paper "ULK2 is essential for degradation of ubiquitinated protein aggregates and homeostasis in skeletal muscle (FASEB Journal) " was the runner-up in the Best Graduate Student Paper of 2019 awarded by the Pappajohn Biomedical Institute (PBI) at the University of Iowa.  The paper is freely available here.

Dr. Lira's publication with Dr. David S. Criswell and colleagues "Nitric Oxide and AMPK Cooperatively Regulate PGC-1 in Skeletal Muscle Cells, J Physiol 588, 3551-3566, 2010" is awarded by The Journal of Physiology Century Citation Club for being cited over 100 times within 10 years of publication! 


December 2019

Congratulations to Matt Harris for being selected as one of only 4 trainees to have an oral presentation at this year's F.O.E. Diabetes Research Center Retreat!


November 2019

Congratulations to Kristen Turner for being awarded a Graduate Diversity Fellowship for the Spring of 2020 through the University of Iowa Graduate College! Kristen has been optimizing the isolation of toxic protein aggregates, which contain misfolded proteins, from skeletal muscle. The ultimate goal of her research is to establish their role in muscle atrophy and contractile dysfunction, as well as in the development of insulin resistance. 


October 2019

Congratulations to Matt Harris for being awarded Best Trainee Poster at the Department of Internal Medicine Research Day! His poster was entitled "ULK1 developmentally regulates autophagic flux and contractile function in the heart".

Congratulations to Jordan Fuqua for being awarded a NASA Iowa Space Grant Consortium (ISGC) fellowship for his doctoral studies! A brief description of his awarded studies can be seen here.

The Lira lab contributes to a work led by Dr. Mitsuharu Okutsu from Nagoya City University, Nagoya, Japan. The work demonstrates that the muscle-derived chemokine SDF-1alpha/CXCL12 modulates endothelial cell proliferation but not exercise training-induced angiogenesis. This work was published in the Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol and can be seen here.


August 2019

The Lira lab has published a new paper demonstrating the essential role of ULK2 in modulating the degradation of ubiquitinated protein aggregates in skeletal muscle homeostasis. This work is the first to show clear functional differences between ULK1 and ULK2 in skeletal muscle impacting muscle mass and strength and was published in the FASEB Journal. The paper is freely available here.


April 2019

Lauren Opatrny, an undergraduate honors student, Kristen Turner and the Lira Lab are featured in an article "Human Physiology undergraduate appreciates rewards of science in Vitor Lira's lab" on the Department of Health and Human Physiology website. 

Jordan Fuqua is awarded a UI Graduate College Summer Fellowship for Summer 2019. Congratulations, Jordan!

Jordan Fuqua receives the faculty awarded Louis E. Alley Health and Human Physiology Department Scholarship! 


March 2019

Dr. Vitor Lira is an invited speaker at the 7th Molecular Biology of Skeletal Muscle Meeting held at Nagoya City University, Nagoya, Japan.

Congratulations to Jordan Fuqua for receiving the Outstanding Poster award at the Advances in Skeletal Muscle Biology in Health and Disease conference held at the University of Florida!

The Lira lab contributes to a work led by Dr. Mitsuharu Okutsu from Nagoya City University, Nagoya, Japan. The work demonstrates that both p62/SQSTM1 and Nrf2 are essential for increased expression of antioxidant genes as a result of regular exercise in muscle. This work was published in the FASEB Journal and can be seen here.


February 2019

Kristen Turner, a PhD student in the Lira lab, is an invited participant of the Future Leaders Advancing Research in Endocrinology (FLARE) meeting in San Francisco, CA. The conference is annually organized by the Endocrine Society and is directed towards trainees and junior faculty from underrepresented minority communities with demonstrated achievement in endocrine research.


January 2019

Dr. Vitor Lira becomes a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Applied Physiology.  


December 2018

The Lira lab contributes to a work led by Dr. Harald Stauss lab demonstrating that cervical nerve stimulation impairs glucose tolerance and suppresses insulin release in conscious rats. This work was published in the journal Physiological Reports. The paper is freely available here.


November 2018

Matt Harris, a PhD student in the Lira lab, presented a talk at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions, Chicago, IL. His talk focused on the roles of cardiac ULK1 and ULK2 proteins in the maintenance of basal mitochondrial function and cardiac pumping efficiency impacting survival.


May 2018

Dr. Scott Powers and Dr. Vitor Lira co-chaired the symposium "Autophagy and Muscle Biology" presented at the World Congress on The Basic Science of Muscle Hypertrophy and Atrophy that took place together with the 65th ACSM's Annual Meeting at Minneapolis, MN. Dr. Lira's talk was entitled "Autophay in basal and increased muscle use". Dr. Scott Powers (University of Florida) and Dr. Jarrod Call (University of Georgia) also spoke in this symposium.


April 2018

Congratulation to Cole Cochran for successfully presenting and completing his honors research project!

Congratulations to Jordan Fuqua for receiving the faculty awarded Louis E. Alley Health and Human Physiology Department Scholarship! 


March 2018

Congratulations to Jordan Fuqua, a PhD student in the Lira lab, for receiving the ACSM Steven M. Horvath Travel Award to attend and present at the ACSM's 65th Annual Meeting and World Congress on The Basic Science of Muscle Hypertrophy and Atrophy at Minneapolis, MN! 


Jan 2018

The Lira lab contributes to a work led by Dr. James Ankrum lab demonstrating the pro-inflammatory effects of a type 2 diabetes mileau, particularly of increased exposure to the saturated fatty acid palmitate, on mesenchymal stromal cell (MSC) function. This work was published in the journal Molecular Therapy. The paper is available here.

The Lira lab contributes to a work led by Dr. Abel lab demonstrating that mitochondrial reactive oxygen species modulate the activity of several mitochondrial proteins promoting mitochondrial fission. This work was published in the journal Circulation Research. The paper is available here.


Nov 2017

Congratulations to Jordan Fuqua for successfully completing his Comprehensive Exam and becoming a PhD candidate!


September 2017

Congratulations to Conor Dass, a Summer Medical Student Fellow at the Lira Lab, for receiving this year's " Carl V. Gisolfi Award for Excellence in Health and Human Physiology Research". Conor was awarded for his poster presentation at the 2017 Medical Student Research Day at the Carver College of Medicine at the University of Iowa.


Aug 2017

Kristen Turner and Matt Harris, PhD students at the Health and Human Physiology Graduate Program, join the Lira Lab!

The Lira Lab has a paper published in the journal Scientific Reports demonstrating for the first time that deficient skeletal and cardiac muscle autophagy leads to maladaptive adaptations to exercise training in the hearts of obese, pre-diabetic mice. Interestingly, the maladaptive hearts of these mice produce high levels of FGF21, which elevates circulating FGF21 leading to a thermogenic phenotype in brown adipose tissue and improvement of whole-body glucose handling. The paper is freely available here.

Dr. Vitor Lira presented a talk entitled "Muscle autophagy and the exercise training-mediated benefits in obesity and diabetes" at the IUPS 2017 38th World Congress in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Dr. Lira's talk was part of a symposium entitled "New insights into physiological and clinical adaptations to exercise and their heterogeneity", which also had presentations from Drs. Bethan Phillips (UK), Philip J. Atherton (UK), Heikki Kainulainen (Finland) and Patricia Brum (Brazil).


May 2017

Congratulations to Olivia Pittman and Conor Dass for receiving Summer Medical Student Fellowships from the Iowa Medical Student Research Program!! These fellowships will support Olivia's and Conor's research in our laboratory during the Summer 2017.

Congratulations to Caleb Mere for defending his M.Sc. dissertation entitled "ULK1 and ULK2 modulate different aspects of skeletal muscle autophagy". Caleb's dissertation committee included Drs. Harald Stauss (Dept. Health and Human Physiology), Ling Yang (Dept. Anatomy and Cell Biology) and Vitor Lira.

Estevão Scudese, an exchange PhD student from Federal University of the State of Rio de Janeiro (UNIRIO, Brazil), joins the lab. Estevão will stay 4 months in our lab primarily contributing to studies establishing muscle function assessment in live mice.


September 2016

Congratulations to Mitchell Edwards, a Summer Medical Student Fellow at the Lira Lab, for receiving the first " Carl V. Gisolfi Award for Excellence in Health and Human Physiology Research". Mitchell was awarded for his poster presentation at the 2016 Medical Student Research Day at the Carver College of Medicine at the University of Iowa. 


August 2016

Dr. Vitor Lira is awarded an American Heart Association Scientist Development Grant (AHASDG) to investigate the regulation of cardiac autophagy by exercise.


May 2016

Dr. Vitor Lira presented a Tutorial Lecture at the 2016 ACSM Annual Meeting in Boston, MA. The lecture was entitled "Exercise-induced autophagy: metabolic implications in cardiac and skeletal muscle".

Congratulations to Mitchell Edwards for receiving a Student Research Fellowship from the Iowa Medical Student Research Program!! This fellowship will support Mitch throughout the Summer 2016 as he continues to conduct research in our laboratory.


April 2016

Congratulations to Jay Blomme, Mitchell Edwards and Nick Iarrobino for being accepted into Medical School!! Mitchell and Jay will seek their MD degree at the Carver College of Medicine, University of Iowa, IA. Nick Iarrobino will seek his MD degree at the University of Illinois College of Medicine, Chicago, IL.

Dr. Vitor Lira is one of the presenters at the Feature Topic "Metabolic consequences of Exercise: skeletal muscle physiology, diabetes and metabolic syndrome" (sponsored by APS Endocrinology and Metabolism Section) at the Experimental Biology (EB) 2016 in San Diego, CA.


March 2016

The Lira lab contributes to a work led by Dr. Harald Stauss lab delineating the effects of afferent and efferent vagal nerve stimulation (VNS) on insulin secretion and glycaemia. The paper was selected for the Physiological ReportsEditors Choice feature of the month, and demonstrates that efferent VNS can be used to control hyperglyceamia and may represent an alternative therapy for type 2 diabetes. The paper is freely available here.


February 2016

Dr. Chad Grueter and Dr. Vitor Lira present updates on the research being conducted in their labs and in the Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center (FOEDRC) at the Annual Board Meeting of theFraternal Order of Eagles in Sarasota, FL.


January 2016

Dr. Vitor Lira contributes to the 3rd Edition of the "Guidelines for the use and interpretation of assays for monitoring autophagy" published in the journal Autophagy.This publication represents a joint effort from scientists around the world. However, a special acknowledgement goes to Dr. Daniel Klionsky (University of Michigan) who led this initiative for the 3rd time and coordinated all contributions. The paper is freely available here.


November 2015

Dr. Darren Casey is awarded an Innovative Clinical or Translational Science Award (ICTS) grant from the American Diabetes Association (ADA). Drs. Richard Shields, E. Dale Abel and Vitor Lira are collaborators on this proposal.


September 2015

The Lira Lab contributes to a work led by Dr. Chris Adams Lab identifying the ATF4 pathway as an important regulator of skeletal muscle weakness and atrophy in aging.This work demonstrates the feasibility of targeting this pathway for therapy in aging and is published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.The paper is freely available here.


August 2015

Congratulations to Jordan Perez! Jordan will be supported during this coming academic year (2015-2016) by the undergraduate program of the Iowa Biosciences Academy (IBA) to perform research in the Lira Lab.


April 2015

Congratulations to Sara Strandlund and Jay Blomme!! Sara and Jay presented posters at the 2015 Spring Undergraduate Research Festival (2015 SURF) and at the 20th Annual Meeting of the Iowa Physiological Society (IPS) at Des Moines University. Sara's and Jay's posters were awarded 1st and 3rd place, respectively, for undergraduates at IPS.


February 2015

Dr. Vitor Lira publishes an editorial in the journal Cardiology titled "Exercise-induced cardioprotection: more to k'NO'w".


January 2015

The course on Energy Metabolism in Health and Disease (HHP-4501/6510) opens! This course discusses the impairments in energy metabolism that occur in skeletal muscle, heart, liver, adipose tissues and endothelium in obesity and type 2 diabetes. Specific metabolic benefits of exercise and calorie restriction in each of these tissues and how those impact whole-body metabolic homeostasis are also discussed.


December 2014

Dr. Vitor Lira presents at the Diabetes and Obesity Talks (DOT) Seminar Series at the University of Iowa.


September 2014

Dr. Vitor Lira is awarded a Pilot and Feasibility Project Grant from the FOEDRC!


August 2014

The Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center (FOEDRC) at the University of Iowa opens!


July 2014

A new part of our lab is located in the Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center (FOEDRC) at the Papajohn Biomedical Discovery Building (PBDB) .