Research Team Led by BIDMC's Robert Gerszten, MD, Receives $11 Million NIH Grant to Study Molecular Changes Linked to Exercise and Physical Activity

Lindsey Diaz-MacInnis 617-667-7372,

DECEMBER 16, 2016

Leader in metabolic research to study how physical activity improves and preserves health

Robert Gerszten

BOSTON – A research team led by Robert Gerszten, MD, Chief of Cardiovascular Medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and a Senior Associate Member of the Broad Institute, has received an award of more than $11 million as part of the Molecular Transducers of Physical Activity in Humans (MoTrPAC) consortium, a large-scale initiative of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to investigate and map the molecular changes that occur in our bodies during and after exercise. This national research consortium seeks to advance our understanding of how physical activity improves and preserves health.

Gerszten is a leader in the field of metabolomics research, the analysis of small molecules in the blood that determine how the body burns fuel. He will serve as a principal investigator of a MoTrPAC research team that will extensively analyze tens of thousands of blood and tissue samples from both humans and rodents using sophisticated proteomic and metabolomic technologies. Human samples will include people of different races, ethnic groups, genders, ages and fitness levels.

“We know that exercise is good for us, but we don’t know the molecular changes that occur when a person is physically active,” said Gerszten, who will oversee one of the consortium’s seven chemical analysis sites. “MoTrPAC will enable us to comprehensively map the changes that take place in the body during physical movement, with the ultimate goal of tailoring exercise programs to the individual in a highly precise way.”

This so-called molecular map will contain the many molecular signals that transmit the health effects of physical activity, and indicate how they are impacted by age, gender, body composition, fitness level and exposure to exercise.

A total of 19 MoTrPAC grants have been awarded to scientists at 25 universities and research centers across the country. In addition to chemical analysis sites, the grants will support clinical centers, preclinical animal study sites and a bioinformatics center.

Other principal investigators on Gerszten’s research team include Broad Institute scientists Clary Clish, PhD, and Stephen Carr, PhD, and Duke University scientist Chris Newgard, PhD.

To contact Dr. Gerszten's office please call (617) 632-7647.

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About Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center 

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a patient care, teaching and research affiliate of Harvard Medical School and consistently ranks as a national leader among independent hospitals in National Institutes of Health funding.

BIDMC is in the community with Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Milton, Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Needham, Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Plymouth, Anna Jaques Hospital, Cambridge Health Alliance, Lawrence General Hospital, MetroWest Medical Center, Signature Healthcare, Beth Israel Deaconess HealthCare, Community Care Alliance and Atrius Health. BIDMC is also clinically affiliated with the Joslin Diabetes Center and Hebrew Rehabilitation Center and is a research partner of Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center and the Jackson Laboratory. BIDMC is the official hospital of the Boston Red Sox. For more information, visit