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Virtual Workshop: Understanding Heterogeneity of Responses to, and Optimizing Clinical Efficacy of, Exercise Training in Older Adults


  • April 7, 2022: 10 a.m. – 3:10 p.m., ET
  • April 8, 2022: 10 a.m. – 3:15 p.m., ET

Target audiences: Scientists, health care professionals, academia, industry, patient advocacy organizations, policymakers

Purpose and Background

The Division of Geriatrics and Clinical Gerontology at the National Institute on Aging (NIA) has launched an initiative focusing on the intersection of mechanistic and clinical perspectives of exercise responsiveness to disentangle the relationships between exercise training and physiologic responses. Exercise training interventions continue to be challenged by variations in the responsiveness, in particular in older adults. Given the pleiotropic effects of exercise, a wholistic approach to understanding exercise responsiveness is critically dependent on the outcome(s) on which responsiveness is based. For example, a positive response in one outcome may not always equal a positive response in another outcome. Other confounding factors include intrinsic (non-modifiable) and extrinsic (modifiable) influences. To accelerate research in this complex transdisciplinary area, the NIA is hosting a focused, virtual workshop to convene research leaders with expertise from different scientific fields.

The goals of this meeting are to:

  • Provide brief, state-of-science updates on the variation in exercise response with regards to disease conditions/co-morbidities and targeted outcomes.
  • Identify key research gaps and propose transdisciplinary research approaches to elucidate the relationships between endogenous/intrinsic and exogenous/extrinsic factors underlying the variations in exercise responses.
  • Propose research opportunities to Identify systemic modulators biomarkers, and other potential mechanisms underlying exercise responsiveness.
  • Advance work on this problem by stimulating cross-field scientific discussion, networking, and collaboration between investigators from different scientific fields.


This workshop will be held virtually on Zoom.

Registration Information

Register for the workshop

Workshop Program

View the agenda, abstracts, and speakers in the Workshop program.


Note: This agenda is in Eastern Daylight Time.

Day 1 (Thursday, April 7, 2022)

10:00 a.m.: Opening Remarks, Lyndon Joseph, National Institute on Aging

10:10 a.m.: The Pillars of Aging and their Potential to Impact Adaptations to Exercise, Nathan LeBrasseur, Mayo Clinic

10:25 a.m.: Understanding the Biology of Exercise Response Variability, Bret Goodpaster, AdventHealth

10:40 a.m.: Discussion, Lyndon Joseph, National Institute on Aging

10:55 a.m.: Break

Session 1: Impact of Pharmacotherapy

  • 11:00 a.m.: Mechanisms Underlying Resistance Exercise Response Heterogeneity in Older Individuals Revealed by Drug-Exercise Interactions, Charlotte Peterson, University of Kentucky
  • 11:15 a.m.: Impacts of Antihypertensive Drugs and Exercise on Late-Life Physical Function, Thomas Buford, University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • 11:30 a.m.: Statins and Exercise Interactions, John Thyfault, University of Kansas Medical Center
  • 11:45 a.m.: Discussion, Lyndon Joseph, National Institute on Aging
  • 12:15 a.m.: Lunch Break

Session 2: Impact on Outcomes

  • 12:45 p.m.: Sex Differences in Vascular Endothelial Adaptations to Exercise: Role of Gonadal Function and Sex Hormones, Kerrie Moreau, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
  • 1:00 p.m.: Diabetes and Cardiorespiratory Fitness: A Collision of Metabolic and Vascular Inflexibility, Jane Reusch, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
  • 1:15 p.m.: Exercise Response Variation in Type 2 Diabetes: A Clinical Outcome with Epigenomic Underpinnings, Lauren Sparks, AdventHealth
  • 1:30 p.m.: Nutrient Timing, Nutrient Sensing, and Heterogenity, Courtney Peterson, University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • 1:45 p.m.: Discussion, Lyndon Joseph, National Institute on Aging
  • 2:15 p.m.: Break
  • 2:25 p.m.: Day 1 Synthesis: All-Hands Discussion, Lauren Sparks, AdventHealth
  • 3:10 p.m.: Adjourn

Day 2 (Friday, April 8, 2022)

10:00 a.m.: Opening Remarks, Lyndon Joseph, National Institute on Aging

Session 3: Circadian Rhythm and Biological Clock

  • 10:05 a.m.: Exercise Performance and Adaptations, Karyn Esser, University of Florida Health Science Center
  • 10:20 a.m.: Exercise-Mediated Effects on Skeletal Muscle and Gene Expression, Juleen Zierath, Karolinska Institutet
  • 10:35 a.m.: Reducing Response Heterogeneity of Exercise on Markers of Glucose Homeostasis and Insulin Sensitivity via Timing of Exercise, Matthijs Hesselink, Maastricht University
  • 10:50 a.m.: Discussion, Lyndon Joseph, National Institute on Aging
  • 11:20 a.m.: Break

Session 4: Study Design

  • 11:25 a.m.: Optimizing Exercise Training Interventions and Understanding Response Heterogeneity, Linda Collins, New York University
  • 11:40 a.m.: Safe Micro-Randomized Trials, Eric Laber, Duke University
  • 11:55 a.m.: Pooling RCTs to Study Heterogeneous Treatment Effects, Daniel Beavers, Wake Forest School of Medicine
  • 12:10 p.m.: Personalized (N-of-1) Trials: The Application of This Trial Design to Understanding Treatment Heterogeneity Response, Karina Davidson, Northwell Health
  • 12:25 p.m.: Discussion, Lyndon Joseph, National Institute on Aging
  • 1:00 p.m.: Lunch Break

Session 5: Biomarkers and Under-Recognized Outcomes

  • 1:30 p.m.: Does Sleep Partly Explain Heterogeneity in the Effects of Exercise on Health?, Shawn Youngstedt, Arizona State University
  • 1:45 p.m.: Explaining Heterogeneity in the Neurocognitive Consequences of Exercise, Kirk Erickson, University of Pittsburgh
  • 2:00 p.m.: The Gut Microbiota: A Landscape for Improved Understanding of Exercise and Aging Biology, Jacob Allen, University of Illinois
  • 2:15 p.m.: Day 2 Synthesis: All-Hands Discussion, Thomas Buford, University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • 3:15 p.m.: Adjourn

Contact Information

Scientific Program: Lyndon Joseph, Ph.D., National Institute on Aging
Meeting Registration: Slavica Acott, Sigma Health Consulting, LLC
IT Support: Gozde Sandal, Sigma Health Consulting, LLC

Reasonable Accommodation: If you need reasonable accommodation to participate in this event, please contact the meeting organizer listed under Contact Information. Please make your request no later than 1 week before the event.

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