Molecular Measures Core (MMC)

Molecular profiling can uniquely discover biomarkers, and predict and monitor traits and processes
to understand and optimize reserve and resilience

The goal of the Molecular Measures Core is to promote an understanding of the means to optimize whole person reserve and resilience through analyses of molecular factors indicative of cellular and tissue level ability to withstand and recover from stressors. The Molecular Measures Core complements the whole person level analyses offered through the Physical Measures Core and is inter-dependent with the Analysis Core, which is responsible for statistical analysis and modeling of data generated by the Physical Measures Core and Molecular Measures Core. The Molecular Measures Core has extensive molecular profiling capabilities including among others, inflammatory, metabolic, tissue matrix, genetic and genomic analyses. The Molecular Measures Core has capabilities to expand and adapt existing core capabilities to facilitate the many needs of the novel investigator-initiated research projects affiliated with our Duke OAIC.

AIMS of the Molecular Measures Core
  1. Perform molecular analyses to support and assist research projects of the Duke OAIC
  2. To develop new molecular profiling and testing capabilities to evaluate cellular, tissue, and organ resiliencies
  3. Perform systems pathway analyses to identify biological pathways indicative of resilient phenotypes
  4. Serve as a resource for research-oriented advice and training on principles and methods of molecular analyses

Virginia Byers Kraus, MD, PhD
Professor of Medicine, Adjunct Professor of Pathology and Orthopaedics
Founding member: Duke Molecular Physiology Institute
My career has focused on discovery and validation of biomarkers of ageing and arthritis. I am trained as a molecular biologist and rheumatologist. I have been in charge for over 10 years of overseeing the inflammatory markers and metabolomics work for the aging related Pepper Center projects at Duke. This has led to a close working relationship with the collaborating researchers making up the Duke OAIC Pepper Research team.

James Bain, PhD
Associate Professor of Medicine
Founding member: Duke Molecular Physiology Institute
I focus on small-molecule phenotyping via mass spectrometry. Since its founding in 2003, our Metabolomics Laboratory has maintained a strong focus on diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and related conditions. We are especially interested in the perturbations in metabolic homeostasis that can occur early and late in the lifespan. In more than ten years of our close collaboration with the Duke OAIC Pepper Center, we have enjoyed working closely with early-career gerontologists and clinical geriatricians on their research projects.

DMPI Metabolomics Lab

Research Education Component
Daniel Belsky, PhDQuantification of molecular signatures of resilience in aging
Rasheeda Hall, MDResilience in older dialysis patients”

Pilot/Exploratory Studies Core
Miles Berger, MDPreoperative exercise to enhance resilience after surgery
Amy McNulty, PhD “Rejuvenation of aging chondrocytes to enhance reserve and prevent osteoarthritis”
James White, PhD “The role of autophagy in aged satellite cells: optimizing muscle reserve”

Externally Funded Projects
MURDOCK Study Measurement to Understand the Reclassification of Disease of Cabarrus/Kannapolis (PI: L Kristin Newby; substudy PIs: M Morey and H Cohen)

Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Developmental Study (PIs: T Moffitt and A Caspi)

CALERIE Biomarkers of Caloric Restriction in Humans: The Comprehensive Assessment of the Long-term Effects of Reducing Intake of Energy (CALERIE) Biorepository (PIs: WE Kraus and C Pieper)

EPESE Established populations for epidemiologic studies of the elderly

DDYNAMO An Enhanced Protein (Dairy) Weight Loss Intervention for Dynapenic Obesity: Impact on Muscle Quality and Composition (PI: C Bales)

Zuo X, Luciano A, Pieper CF, Bain JR, Kraus VB, Kraus WE, Morey MC, Cohen HJ. Combined Inflammation and Metabolism Biomarker Indices of Robust and Impaired Physical Function in Older Adults. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2018 Jul;66(7):1353-1359. [Institutional access] [PubMed]

Belsky DW, Huffman KM, Pieper CF, Shalev I, Kraus WE. Change in the Rate of Biological Aging in Response to Caloric Restriction: CALERIE Biobank Analysis. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2017 Dec 12;73(1):4-10. [Institutional access] [PMC free article] [PubMed]

Kraus, WE, Pieper, CF, Huffman, KM, Thompson, DK, Kraus, VB, Morey, MC, Cohen, HJ, Ravussin, E, Redman, LM, Bain, JR, Stevens, RD, and Newgard, CB. Association of Plasma Small-Molecule Intermediate Metabolites With Age and Body Mass Index Across Six Diverse Study Populations. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2016 Nov;71(11):1507-1513. [Institutional access] [PubMed]

Peterson, MJ, Thompson, DK, Pieper, CF, Morey, MC, Kraus, VB, Kraus, WE, Sullivan, P, Fillenbaum, G, and Cohen, HJ. A Novel Analytic Technique to Measure Associations Between Circulating Biomarkers and Physical Performance Across the Adult Life Span. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2016 Feb;71(2):196–202. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

Ridaura, VK, J.J. Faith, F.E. Rey, J. Cheng, A.E. Duncan, A.L. Kau, V. Lombard, B. Henrissat, J.R. Bain, M.J. Muehlbauer, O. Ilkayeva, L.K. Ursell, J.C. Clemente, W. Van Treuren, W.A. Walters, C.B. Newgard, R. Knight, A.C. Heath, and J.I. Gordon. Cultured gut bacterial consortia from twins discordant for obesity modulate adiposity and metabolic phenotypes in gnotobiotic mice. Science. 2013 Sep 6;341(6150). [PMC free article]

Scholtens, DM, M.J. Muehlbauer, R.D. Stevens, A.R. Dyer, L.P. Lowe, B.E. Metzger, C.B. Newgard, J.R. Bain, and W.L. Lowe, for the HAPO Study Cooperative Research Group. Metabolomics reveals broad-scale metabolic perturbations in hyperglycemic mothers during pregnancy. Diabetes Care. 2014 Jan;37(1):158–166. [PMC free article]

Catterall, JB, RD Zura, MP Bolognesi, VB Kraus. Aspartic acid racemization reveals a high turnover state in knee compared with hip osteoarthritic cartilage. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2016 Feb;24(2):374-81. [PMC free article]

Hsueh, M-F, A Khabut, S Kjellström, P Önnerfjord, VB Kraus. Elucidating the molecular architecture of cartilage by proteomics. Journal of Proteome Research. 2016 Feb 5;15(2):374-88. [PMC free article]