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AdventHealth’s Translational Research Institute participates in national study on benefits of exercise

Jan 9, 2019

AdventHealth’s Translational Research Institute participates in national study on benefits of exercise

Known as MoTrPAC, the study will involve up to 2,000 participants taking part in a 12-week exercise program to learn why exercise is good for us on the molecular level.

Woman smiling while running on a treadmill.

You know exercise is good for you — but do you know why?

As it turns out, scientists don’t know either. So researchers are launching a major study to try and find out. 

Known as MoTrPAC (Molecular Transducers of Physical Activity in Humans), the study’s goal is to discover why exercise helps the body’s cells and organs at the molecular level. It’s taking place at 10 sites around the country, including the Translational Research Institute for Metabolism and Diabetes at AdventHealth Orlando. Other sites include Duke University, the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Alabama and the University of California-Irvine. 

The $170 million project, funded by NIH’s common fund, will involve 1,500-2,000 participants nationwide over a period of three years. The TRI will provide 150-200 of those participants. 

Bret Goodpaster, Ph.D., will serve as principal investigator for the TRI portion of the study. He has been involved in the planning for the study for the past few years, after publishing a white paper about science’s gaps in knowledge about the benefits of exercise. 

“The study is not disease-specific, because we know exercise impacts all diseases,” Goodpaster said. “But we don’t know the answers to other basic questions: Why do we see variation? Why doesn’t everyone respond in the same way? Why do some respond better to exercise than others?”

In the initial phase, investigators will track healthy but sedentary volunteers, ages 18-80, ranging from normal weight to moderately obese. The volunteers will take part in a 12-week exercise program, and researchers will collect blood and tissue samples before and after exercise. The study will take advantage of emerging fields of study such as genomics.

This first phase will also set the framework for future studies on populations with specific diseases and conditions.

The tissue samples will be sent to scientists at MoTrPAC Chemical Analysis Sites, who will analyze a variety of molecules that change following exercise, and may transmit the benefits of physical activity even to areas of the body not directly involved in exercise.

More information about the TRI and studies being conducted there is available at 407-303-7100.

For media inquiries only, contact AdventHealth External Communications at 407-303-5950 or email