LaDora V. Thompson, PhD, BS, PT

Travis M. Roy Professor, Department of Physical Therapy

  • Additional Titles:Professor, Department of Health Sciences, Programs in Human Physiology
  • Education:BS in Physical Therapy, Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI
    PhD in Biology (Muscle and Exercise), Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI
  • Website or Lab: Skeletal Muscle Physiology Lab
  • Phone:617-353-7531

Scholarly, Research, and/or Practice Interests

  • Age-related changes in muscle health at the cellular level
  • Understanding the underlying cellular mechanisms that explain muscle weakness and dysfunction in order to develop appropriate therapies that will prevent, retard, and reverse these age-related declines

Selected Publications

  • Baumann, C.W., Kwak, D., and Thompson, Sex-specific components of frailty in C57BL/6 mice. Aging, (Albany NY). 2019 Jul 29;11(14):5206-5214.
  • Graber, TG, Fandrey KR, and Thompson, Novel individualized power training protocol preserves physical function in adult and older mice. Geroscience. 2019, Apr;41(2):165-183.
  • Kim, JH., Graber, TG., Liu, H., Asakura A, and Thompson, Increasing myosin light chain 3f (MLC3f) protects against a decline in contractile velocity. PLoS One. 2019 Apr 9;14(4):e0214982.
  • Kwak, D., Baumann, C.W., and Thompson, Identifying characteristics of frailty in female mice using a phenotype assessment tool. Journals of Gerontology, A Biol Sci Med Sci., 2019, Apr 8. pii: glz092.
  • Liu, H. and Thompson, Skeletal muscle denervation investigations: Selecting an experimental control wisely. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2019 Mar 1;316(3):C456-C461.
  • Baumann, C.W., Kwak, D., and Thompson, Assessing onset, prevalence and survival in mice using a frailty phenotype. Aging, (Albany NY). 2018 Dec 18;10(12):4042-4053.
  • Baumann, C.W., Kwak, D., Ferrington, D.A., and L.V. Thompson, Downhill exercise alters immunoproteasome content in mouse skeletal muscle. Cell Stress and Chaperones, 2017 Nov 9. doi: 10.1007/s12192-017-0857-y. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 29124664
  • Liu, H., Ferrington, D.A., Baumann, C., and L.V. Thompson, Denervation-induced activation of the standard proteasome and immunoproteasome. PlosOne, 2016 Nov 22;11(11):e0166831. Doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0166831 PMID: 27875560
  • Baumann, C., Liu, H.M., and L.V. Thompson, Denervation-induced activation of the ubiquitin-proteasome system reduces skeletal muscle quantity not quality. PLoS One, 2016 Aug 11;11(8):e0160839. Doi:  10.1371/journal.pone.0160839 PMID: 27513942
  • Baumann, C., Kwak, D., Liu, H., and L.V. Thompson, Age-induced oxidative stress: how does it influence skeletal muscle quantity and quality? J Appl Physiol, 2016 Nov 1;121(5):1047-1052. Doi:  10.1152/ japplphysiol.00321.2016. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 27197856
  • Graber, T.G., Kim, J.H., Grange, R.W., McLoon, L.K., and L.V. Thompson, C57BL/6 Lifespan Study: Age-related declines in muscle power production and contractile velocity, AGE, June;37(3):9773. Doi:10.1007/s11357-9773-1. Epub 2015 Apr 17 PMID: 25893911
  • Graber, T.G., Ferguson-Stegall, L., Liu, H., and L.V. Thompson, Voluntary aerobic exercise reverses frailty in old mice. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci, 2015 Sep;70(9):1045-58. Doi:10.1093/Gerona/glu163. Epub 2014 Sep 30 PMID: 25271307

Selected Presentations

  • “Frailty: A call to action for physical therapists and scientists” Combined Sections Meeting, APTA, New Orleans, LA, February 2018.
  • “Fighting Sarcopenia and Frailty – One Protein at a Time”, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, December 2017; Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, September 2017
  • “Maintaining Cellular Homeostasis in Skeletal Muscle”, Gordon Research Conference, Biology of Aging, Les Diablerets, Switzerland, July 2017
  • “The Power of Animal Models to Discover the Biology of Aging”, International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics (IAGG), San Francisco, CA, July 2017
  • “Frailty and Sarcopenia” – The Role of Protein Quantity and Quality”, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, April 2017
  • “Muscle Dysfunction and Frailty – The Role of Protein Quantity and Quality”, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH, January 2017
  • “Impact of Voluntary Exercise on Frailty in Old Mice”, APS Intersociety Meeting: The Integrative Biology of Exercise VII, Phoenix, AZ, November 2016
  • “Muscle Dysfunction and Frailty – The Role of Protein Quantity and Quality”, American Aging Association Annual Meeting, Seattle, WA, June 2016
  • “Fighting Frailty”, Inaugural Address for Research on Healthy Aging, School of Kinesiology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN May 2016
  • “Frailty and Sarcopenia: Of Mice and Men”, School of Gerontology, USC, Los Angeles, CA, January 2016
  • “Frailty: Of Mice and Men”, Robert and Arlene Kogod Center on Aging, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, January 2016

Research Funding

  • National Institutes on Aging (NIH), R24, Geroscience Network, Co-Investigator.
  • National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIH), R01, “Training Effects on Skeletal Muscle Lipid Dynamics,” Co-Investigator.
  • National Institutes on Aging (NIH), T32, “Training Program: Functional Proteomics of Aging,” Principal Investigator.
  • National Institutes on Aging (NIH), R01, “Quantitating Mitophagy in Skeletal Muscle Models,” Co-Investigator.
  • National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIH), P30AR066454, “Treatment of MD By Increased Angiogenesis,”  Co-Mentor.

Professional Activities

  • American Aging Association Fellow, June 2016
  • Marquette University Professional Achievement Award, April 2014
  • Gerontological Society of America Fellow, 2011
  • GSA Research Presentation highlighted in USA Today, Nov 21, 2010,
  • Ninth International Symposium on Neurobiology and Neuroendocrinology of Aging Travel Award, 2006
  • Brazilian Physical Therapy National Congress (COBRAF), Keynote Speaker, 2005
  • GRC-Biology of Aging Poster Award (oral presentation), France, 2004
  • GRC-Biology of Aging Travel Award, Ventura California, 2003
  • American Physical Therapy Association, Section on Geriatrics “Joan Mills Award,” 1999
  • NIA Workshop, Sarcopenia, Arlie, Virginia (selected attendee), 1994
  • Featured Researcher in PT Magazine of Physical Therapy, APTA, 1994
  • NASA Postdoctoral Fellowship, 1992
  • American Heart Association Pre-doctoral Fellowship, 1989 – 1991
  • Foundation for Physical Therapy Doctoral Scholarships, 1987 – 1991
  • Marquette University Graduate Fellowship, 1988

Awards and Honors

  • Catherine Worthingham Fellows of the American Physical Therapy Association, 2022
  • Denham Harman Award from the American Aging Association, 2022
  • Committee on Institutional Cooperation –Academic Leadership Program Fellow, University of Minnesota representative, 2013 – 2014
  • Women’s Faculty Cabinet – UofMN Medical School representative, 2010 – 2013
  • Mid-Career Women in Science – UofMN Medical School representative, 2003
  • Fesler-Lampert Chair in Aging Studies, Center on Aging Chair, 2000 – 2001
  • Early-Career Women in Science – UofMN Medical School representative, 1995
  • National Brookdale Fellowship on Aging – UofMN Candidate, 1994
  • Medical Bulletin – Featured Researcher, 1994

Licenses and Certifications

  • Physical Therapist, Minnesota,#9838 (2014 – present)
  • Physical Therapist, Wisconsin, #2878-024 (1984 – present)

Professional Memberships

  • American Physical Therapy Association, 1982 – 2002; 2012 – present
  • American Aging Association,  2005 – present
    • Executive Board, 2011 – present
    • Scientific Advisory Board, 2008 – present
  • Gerontological Society of America, 1996 – present

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