• Anna Thalacker-Mercer, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Cell, Developmental and Integrative Biology at UAB. She received her doctorate degree through the Interdepartmental Nutrition Program in the Department of Nutrition Science (formerly Foods and Nutrition) at Purdue University where she developed a strong background in geriatric nutrition and the mechanisms underlying aging skeletal muscle. She continued her research training as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Nutrition Obesity Research Center, the Center for Aging Translational Research Program, and the Center for Exercise Medicine at the UAB. During her postdoctoral training Dr. Thalacker-Mercer focused on the mechanisms underlying (i) impaired skeletal muscle regeneration with age and (ii) the heterogeneity in exercise-induced myofiber hypertrophy. From UAB, Dr. Thalacker-Mercer transitioned to the Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University where she established her research program in identifying and understanding variations in nutrient and metabolic determinants of skeletal muscle regeneration and deterioration that occur with advancing age and disease.
  • Selected Publications

    Academic Article

    Year Title Altmetric
    2021 Dietary Protein Intake Is Positively Associated with Appendicular Lean Mass and Handgrip Strength among Middle-Aged US Adults 2021
    2021 Genetic variation in genes regulating skeletal muscle regeneration and tissue remodelling associated with weight loss in chronic obstructive pulmonary diseaseJournal of Cachexia, Sarcopenia and Muscle.  12:1803-1817. 2021
    2021 Pyruvate Kinase M2 Supports Muscle Progenitor Cell Proliferation but Is Dispensable for Skeletal Muscle Regeneration after Injury 2021
    2021 Reduced Shmt2 expression impairs mitochondrial folate accumulation and respiration, and leads to uracil accumulation in mouse mitochondrial DNA 2021
    2021 NaCT/SLC13A5 facilitates citrate import and metabolism under nutrient-limited conditionsCell Reports.  36. 2021
    2021 Discovery and application of dietary compounds to optimize human health, a focus on skeletal muscle regenerationCurrent Opinion in Biotechnology.  70:131-135. 2021
    2021 Editorial overview: Food biotechnologyCurrent Opinion in Biotechnology.  70:iii-v. 2021
    2021 Importance of Nutrient Availability and Metabolism for Skeletal Muscle RegenerationFrontiers in Physiology.  12. 2021
    2021 Mechanisms of exercise as a preventative measure to muscle wasting 2021
    2021 Impact of the Whole Genome Duplication Event on PYK Activity and Effects of a PYK1 Mutation on Metabolism in S. cerevisiaeFrontiers in Molecular Biosciences.  8. 2021
    2021 Extracellular serine and glycine are required for mouse and human skeletal muscle stem and progenitor cell functionMolecular Metabolism.  43. 2021
    2020 A defined N6-methyladenosine (m6A) profile conferred by METTL3 regulates muscle stem cell/myoblast state transitionsCell Death Discovery.  6. 2020
    2020 Tolerance to graded dosages of histidine supplementation in healthy human adultsAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition.  112:1358-1367. 2020
    2020 Benefits and adverse effects of histidine supplementation 2020
    2020 Consumption of a Blueberry-Enriched Diet by Women for 6 Weeks Alters Determinants of Human Muscle Progenitor Cell Function. 2020
    2020 Osteosarcopenia in Reproductive-Aged Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: A Multicenter Case-Control Study.Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.  105:e3400-e3414. 2020
    2020 Whole blueberry and isolated polyphenol-rich fractions modulate specific gut microbes in an in vitro colon model and in a pilot study in human consumersNutrients.  12:1-21. 2020
    2019 Isolation, Culture, Characterization, and Differentiation of Human Muscle Progenitor Cells from the Skeletal Muscle Biopsy Procedure.Journal of Visualized Experiments2019
    2019 Serine and Glycine Are Essential for Human Muscle Progenitor Cell P Roliferation (P08-063-19)Current Developments in Nutrition.  3:3131153. 2019
    2019 Peptide YY (PYY) Is Expressed in Human Skeletal Muscle Tissue and Expanding Human Muscle Progenitor Cells.Frontiers in Physiology.  10:188. 2019
    2018 Expansion capacity of human muscle progenitor cells differs by age, sex, and metabolic fuel preference. 2018
    2018 Transcript profile distinguishes variability in human myogenic progenitor cell expansion capacity.Physiological Genomics.  50:817-827. 2018
    2018 Human neuromuscular aging: Sex differences revealed at the myocellular levelExperimental Gerontology.  106:116-124. 2018
    2017 Randomized, four-arm, dose-response clinical trial to optimize resistance exercise training for older adults with age-related muscle atrophyExperimental Gerontology.  99:98-109. 2017
    2017 The metabolic fate of isotopically labeled trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO) in humans.Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.  45:77-82. 2017
    2015 Histone Methylation Dynamics and Gene Regulation Occur through the Sensing of One-Carbon MetabolismCell Metabolism.  22:861-873. 2015
    2014 BMI, RQ, diabetes, and sex affect the relationships between amino acids and clamp measures of insulin action in humansDiabetes.  63:791-800. 2014
    2013 Heightened muscle inflammation susceptibility may impair regenerative capacity in aging humansJournal of Applied Physiology.  115:937-948. 2013
    2013 Differential DNA methylation with age displays both common and dynamic features across human tissues that are influenced by CpG landscapeGenome Biology.  14. 2013
    2013 Increased expression of atrogenes and TWEAK family members after severe burn injury in nonburned human skeletal muscleJournal of Burn Care and Research.  34. 2013
    2013 Cluster analysis reveals differential transcript profiles associated with resistance training-induced human skeletal muscle hypertrophyPhysiological Genomics.  45:499-507. 2013
    2012 Simvastatin impairs ADP-stimulated respiration and increases mitochondrial oxidative stress in primary human skeletal myotubesFree Radical Biology and Medicine.  52:198-207. 2012
    2010 The skeletal muscle transcript profile reflects accommodative responses to inadequate protein intake in younger and older males.Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.  21:1076-1082. 2010
    2010 Differential genomic responses in old vs. young humans despite similar levels of modest muscle damage after resistance loadingPhysiological Genomics.  40:141-149. 2010
    2009 Does habitual dietary intake influence myofiber hypertrophy in response to resistance training? A cluster analysis 2009
    2008 Liquid and solid meal replacement products differentially affect postprandial appetite and food intake in older adults.Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.  108:1226-1230. 2008
    2007 Nutrient ingestion, protein intake, and sex, but not age, affect the albumin synthesis rate in humans. 2007
    2007 Inadequate protein intake affects skeletal muscle transcript profiles in older humans.American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.  85:1344-1352. 2007


    Year Title Altmetric
    2020 Protein and amino acids for skeletal muscle health in aging.  29-64. 2020
    2016 Understanding Age-Related Changes in Skeletal Muscle Metabolism: Differences Between Females and Males..  129-156. 2016
    2016 Amino acids in healthy aging skeletal muscle.  326-350. 2016
    2014 Protein metabolism in inactive older adults 2014
    2014 Production and supply of high-quality food protein for human consumption: sustainability, challenge and innovations.  1-19. 2014
    2012 Insulin-like growth factor system in different ethnic groups and relationship with growth and health.  1471-1490. 2012
    2008 Dietary protein intake affects albumin fractional synthesis rate in younger and older adults equally..  91-95. 2008
    2006 Protein Metabolism and Requirements.  15-22. 2006

    Research Overview

  • The overarching objective of the Thalacker-Mercer research program is to identify and understand nutrient and metabolic determinants of skeletal muscle (SkM) regeneration and atrophy. This objective is achieved by 1) examining nutrient requirements and the metabolic signature of SkM stem/ progenitor cell expansion; 2) characterizing novel metabolic and molecular regulators of cell expansion, differentiation, and myotube formation; and 3) developing optimal nutrition and anti-inflammatory therapies to improve SkM health. To address these objectives the Thalacker-Mercer research program utilizes human and mouse, primary skeletal muscle cell cultures and muscle tissue coupled with state-of-the-art imaging and –omics techniques and technologies. The lab uses a culture system that allows rapid quantification of markers underlying regenerative capacity, gene and protein expression, mitochondrial biogenesis, and metabolism in human and mouse primary satellite cells. The approach to research in the Thalacker-Mercer lab is truly translational—spanning from cells and molecules to clinical trials.
  • Full Name

  • Anna Thalacker-Mercer