Exercise Science Doctoral Student Recognized in Early Career Author Competition
Megan Rosa-Caldwell, a University of Arkansas doctoral student, was recently named one of two runners-up for Experimental Physiology‘s Early Career Author Prize.
Rosa-Caldwell was chosen by a panel of the journal’s eight senior editors for her article titled “Autophagy activation, not peroxisome proliferator‐activated receptor γ coactivator 1α, may mediate exercise‐induced improvements in glucose handling during diet‐induced obesity.” It was published about a year ago.
Rosa-Caldwell was first author of the article that described a research project she led to investigate whether small amounts of physical activity may help protect against insulin resistance, a precursor to Type 2 diabetes that can result from a high-fat diet. The project findings suggest that is the case and also cast doubt on the previously held view that increasing the quantity of mitochondria – which are the tiny structures in cells that convert glucose and fats to energy – would help fix some symptoms of a high-fat diet.
“It was a nice little surprise for the summer,” Rosa-Caldwell said. “Because it’s a European journal, the email came very early – 5:30 or 6 a.m. – and my adviser got it first and started an email chain of congratulations. It was really exciting.”
Rosa-Caldwell works with Nicholas Greene, an assistant professor of exercise science in the College of Education and Health Professions. The article that received the award was based on her first research project as a master’s student at the U of A. She described the notification as an ego boost as she prepares to submit a training grant proposal to the National Institutes of Health. She can list the recognition on the application.
Greene and Rosa-Caldwell are working on other projects funded by a grant Greene received from the NIH to study ways to prevent muscle atrophy, which accompanies many diseases, impairing body function and hastening death. Greene directs the Integrative Muscle Metabolism Laboratory in the College of Education and Health Professions.
Rosa-Caldwell just started her third year in the exercise science doctoral program. She said good writing skills have helped her with the work. In addition to submitting grant proposals, she’s first author on another research article with a third in the works and she writes a blog for Greene’s laboratory website.
“Science communication skills are necessary to explain what’s going on in the lab, what it means and why it’s important for everyday life,” she said.