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
Mary Bernheim Distinguished 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
Nazema Siddiqui, MD Effects of aging and the urinary microbiome on recurrent urinary tract infections
Corey Simon, DPT, PhD Physical Resilience to Pain with Activity Influences among Seniors (PRAISE) – Feasibility Study
Tony Sung, MD “intensity interval training to improve pre- and peri-transplant function and outcomes

Pilot/Exploratory Studies Core
David Bartlett, PhD Exercise training to promote resilience in chronic lymphocytic leukemia in older patients by enhancing physical and immunological reserve
Anna Mae Diehl, MD Aging Effects on Hepatocyte Reprogramming and Liver Repair
Charity Oyedeji, MD Focused geriatric assessment and biomarkers to determine physiologic resilience in older adults with sickle cell disease
Mihai Podgoreanu, MD Metabolic modifiers and rehabilitation phenotypes in older adults subjected to extracorporeal support

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)


Goode AP, Cleveland RJ, George SZ, Schwartz TA, Kraus VB, Renner JB, Gracely RH, DeFrate LE, Hu D, Jordan JM, Golightly YM. Predictors of Lumbar Spine Degeneration and Low Back Pain in the Community: The Johnston County Osteoarthritis Project. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2021 May 10. Epub ahead of print. PMID:33973412 Institutional access

Enriquez-Hesles E, Smith DL Jr, Maqani N, Wierman MB, Sutcliffe MD, Fine RD, Kalita A, Santos SM, Muehlbauer MJ, Bain JR, Janes KA, Hartman JL 4th, Hirschey MD, Smith JS. A cell non-autonomous mechanism of yeast chronological aging regulated by caloric restriction and one-carbon metabolism. J Biol Chem. 2021;296:100125. PMCID:7949035

Parker DC, Colόn-Emeric C, Huebner JL, Chou CH, Kraus VB, Pieper CF, Sloane R, Whitson HE, Orwig D, Crabtree DM, Magaziner J, Bain JR, Muehlbauer M, Ilkayeva OR, Huffman KM. Biomarkers Associated with Physical Resilience After Hip Fracture. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2020 Sep 25;75(10):e166-e172. PMCID:7518564 Available 5/9/2021

Hsueh MF, Bolognesi MP, Wellman SS, Kraus VB. Anti-inflammatory effects of naproxen sodium on human osteoarthritis synovial fluid immune cells. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2020 May;28(5):639-645. PMCID:7214189 Available 05/01/2021

Mao C, Li ZH, Lv YB, Gao X, Kraus VB, Zhou JH, Wu XB, Shi WY, Li FR, Liu SM, Yin ZX, Zeng Y, Shi XM. Specific Leisure Activities and Cognitive Functions Among the Oldest-Old: the Chinese Longitudinal Healthy Longevity Survey. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2020 Mar 9;75(4):739-746. PMCID:6776703

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. PMCID:7326532

Kraus WE, Pieper CF, Huffman KM, Thompson DK, Kraus VB, Morey MC, Cohen HJ, Ravussin E, Redman LM, Bain JR, Stevens RD, 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. PMCID:6279215

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). PMCID:3829625

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. PMCID:3867997

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. PMCID:4897591

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. PMCID:4917199