Featured Research: The Past and Future of LPHES

Li Li Ji, Ph.D. - Professor and Director of the School of Kinesiology

The Laboratory of Physiological Hygiene and Exercise Science (LPHES) has a long history of research success dating back to the 1930’s and is a national leader in studying human health, nutrition, and disease. It has showcased the work of well-known and seminal researchers such as Ancel Keys, Elsworth Buskirk, Henry Taylor, Henry Blackburn, and Arthur Leon.

Dr. Li Li Ji, Professor and Director of the School of Kinesiology, is humbled to join the above-mentioned group of respected researchers. A world-renowned researcher in Exercise Physiology, he now leads our legendary LPHES, taking on new challenges in promoting research and investigation on the effect of physical activity on human health, nutrition, disease, aging, and in the training of a new generation of graduate and undergraduate students in these areas of national agenda.

Dr. Ji received his Ph.D., in Exercise Physiology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and postdoctoral training in the Institute for Enzyme Research. Over the past three decades, his research has focused on the balance between free radical chemicals and antioxidants and how it affects the response and adaptation of skeletal muscle and heart to acute and chronic exercise, and the role that nutrition and aging plays in determining the outcomes. He is an internationally known expert in the gene expression and molecular signaling of antioxidant enzymes and the impact of antioxidant nutrients on body function. Recently, his work has been extended to studying the efficacy of phytochemicals (natural chemicals derived from plants) on human health and performance, especially in women and elderly people. Dr. Ji is continuously searching for new strategies to combat health problems and diseases affecting the human population, such as cardiovascular disorders and sarcopenia (age-related muscle loss). He is currently exploring a technique to inject DNA into muscles in intact animals to boost mitochondrial function and antioxidant defense in aid of recovery from muscle atrophy due to disuse.

The lab recently underwent a major renovation and now offers state-of-the-art facilities for biomedical research in both animal and human exercise physiology and molecular biology.

“It is an honor to be able to carry on this mission,” Dr. Ji stated recently. “Moving my laboratory to the University of Minnesota offers new opportunities, and I am looking forward to working together with graduate and undergraduate students and collaborating with faculty and researchers across campus.”

You can visit the newly remodeled LPHES in the University Recreation Center, Room 27.


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