Where are they now?

Heidi IglayReger

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Heidi IglayReger, PhD

As part of the Laboratory for Integrative Research in Nutrition, Fitness and Aging at Purdue University, Dr. IglayReger assessed the effect of resistance training and dietary protein intake on glucose tolerance and skeletal muscle signaling proteins in older people. She then completed post-doctorate training in the Vascular Biology Laboratory at Wayne State University and at the University of Michigan, where she utilized a mouse model to investigate the relationships of adiposity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes, with a focus on the involvement of leptin. At present, Dr. IglayReger is the laboratory manager of the laboratory for Physical Activity and Exercise Intervention Research (PAEIR) at the University of Michigan. PAEIR is currently investigating the genes and inflammatory processes associated with obesity in humans, with an emphasis on exercise as a beneficial modulator of obesity-associated inflammation.

What do you remember best about your time in the Gerontology Program?

I enjoyed many aspects of the Gerontology Program at Purdue, and particularly enjoyed the regular interaction with graduate students in other departments. It was wonderful to learn more about different fields, and to note the similarities (and differences) in our programs and research.

Who were your mentors and what attributes did they have that helped you?

I was fortunate to have not only an advisor in the program, Dr. Wayne Campbell, but also to take multiple classes with Dr. David Waters. Both continue to serve as mentors.

How did you get interested in gerontology?

Dr. Campbell was probably the reason I first became interested in gerontology, as his encouragement and research piqued my interest in this field. My work in his laboratory with older men and women, combined with the classes I took as part of the Gerontology Program, solidified this interest.

What research experiences did you have at Purdue that helped form your current agenda?

Given the overriding influence of my graduate research on my research interests, it is difficult to imagine how my current agenda would have developed without my research at Purdue. During my graduate work with Dr. Campbell, I was involved in many research projects, ranging from weight loss through exercise interventions, and gained experience in all aspects of each project. This expansive training enabled me to easily transition from the mouse model of my post-doctoral training back to a human model. My dissertation work included a resistance training intervention, and I am excited to currently be in a position such that I can once again utilize this intervention. Naturally, my Foods & Nutrition background is evident in my current work, as though I am in an exercise laboratory, I regularly request that we include dietary components in our research.

Anything else you would like to add?

I really enjoyed our group discussions in Dr. Waters’ classes. The interactive environment is something I strive to create and/or find throughout my career.