NIH awards $26.4 million to Stanford researchers for physical activity study

Stephen Montgomery
Stephen Montgomery

Stanford researchers have been awarded two grants totaling $26.4 million as part of the largest program ever funded by the National Institutes of Health to study the biological mechanisms of physical activity.

MICHAEL SNYDER, professor and chair of genetics, and STEPHEN MONTGOMERY, assistant professor of pathology and of genetics, were awarded $15.7 million. They will lead a research team using advanced technological tools to identify and characterize the wide range of molecules that form during or after exercise.

“Our grant is to collect genomic, transcriptomic and epigenomic information and learn about how these relate to the effect of exercise,” Snyder said. “We will be determining how exercise affects the body’s biochemistry at a detailed level never analyzed previously.”

Montgomery added, “A lack of physical activity is a major factor in multiple diseases. This program provides an exciting opportunity to learn the molecular mechanisms underlying physical activity, with the goal of enabling new approaches to improving or maintaining individual health.”

Euan Ashley
Euan Ashley

A second grant of $10.7 million was awarded to EUAN ASHLEY, associate professor of cardiovascular medicine and of genetics, to establish and lead a bioinformatics center for data storage available to all the researchers across the NIH program.

“The role of the bioinformatics center will be data sharing, data integration with other datasets, and novel analytics,” Ashley said.

The NIH program, called Molecular Transducers of Physical Activity in Humans, will award a total of $170 million to researchers across the United States over the next six years to study the molecular changes that occur during and after exercise, with the goal of advancing the understanding of how physical activity improves and preserves health.

Read more on the Stanford Medicine website.