Robert H Coker

Robert H Coker
University of Montana | UMT · Montana Center for Work Physiology and Exercise Metabolism

Ph.D. FACSM FTOS

About

134
Publications
13,248
Reads
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1,575
Citations
Introduction
The focus of my work in translational biomedicine is directed at the mitigation of metabolic stress through the use of nutritional therapy and lifestyle interventions.
Additional affiliations
May 2018 - present
University of Washington Seattle
Position
  • Chair
Description
  • I facilitate the overall mission of the network by building research partnerships between investigators and community-based clinicians that are devoted to local, high-quality clinical research.
May 2013 - December 2021
University of Alaska System
Position
  • Professor (Full)
February 2013 - March 2020
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
Education
August 1991 - August 1995
University of Mississippi
Field of study
  • Exercise Physiology and Nutrition
June 1988 - May 1989
North Georgia College and State University
Field of study
  • Physical Education
August 1982 - May 1986
North Georgia College and State University
Field of study
  • Physical Education

Publications

Publications (134)
Article
Full-text available
Objective: The purpose of this study was to evaluate pre- and postseason measures of body composition, skeletal muscle, and blood parameters/liver lipid in wildland firefighters (WLFF) over the fire season. Methods: Alaskan WLFF (N = 27) crews were evaluated pre- and postwildfire season, which included 63 ± 10 operational days. Body composition,...
Article
Full-text available
A collaborative research model was developed and tested to enable regional healthcare systems to join multisite clinical trials emanating from the Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) Trial Innovation Network (TIN) by the Institute of Translational Health Sciences at the University of Washington and the Northwest Participant and Clinical...
Article
Full-text available
Excess alcohol consumption is a top risk factor for death and disability. Fatty liver will likely develop and the risk of liver disease increases. We have previously demonstrated that an essential amino acid supplement (EAAS) improved protein synthesis and reduced intrahepatic lipid in the elderly. The purpose of this exploratory pilot study was to...
Article
Full-text available
We have previously reported negative energy balance and health benefits during an Alaska backcountry expeditionary hunting (ABEH) immersion in two males. The purpose of our present study was to increase the number of participants, include females, and evaluate macronutrient intake and serum lipids. Four men (age: 46 ± 6 year, BMI: 26 ± 1 kg/m 2) an...
Article
Full-text available
Background Older adults are threatened by the risk of muscle atrophy and excess accumulation of adipose tissue. The objective of this study was to determine whether an essential amino acid enriched meal replacement would reduce excess fat and foster skeletal muscle retention, potentially improving physical function in this cohort. Methods Using a...
Article
Introduction The endothelial glycocalyx maintains vascular structure and may be subject to shedding during inflammation, but also high-intensive exercise. There are no studies on shedding during ultra-endurance exercise. The "Yukon Arctic Ultra" (YAU) is one of the longest and coldest ultramarathons and its impact on glycocalyx shedding was investi...
Poster
Full-text available
Our Alaskan Backcountry Expeditionary Hunting (ABEH) paradigm represents an 8-14 day unscripted, remote expedition in the uninhabited Brooks Range. Despite negative energy balance (i.e., -9.7 ± 3.4 MJ/day) and significant weight loss (Δ-1.5 ± 0.7 kg) largely influenced by high levels of energy expenditure (i.e., 17.4 ± 2.6 MJ/day), participants ret...
Article
Objective: Determine serum lipid and general health/fitness alterations following a 5-month wildfire suppression season. Methods: We recruited 100 wildland firefighters (WLFFs) to a 5-month pre- to post-season observational study. Nude body mass, blood pressure (BP), grip strength, and step-test heart rate (HR) were recorded. Blood samples were...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Building on a distinguished legacy of hibernation physiology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the Center for Transformative Research in Metabolism (TRiM) is an interdisciplinary Center of Biomedical Research Excellence at the University of Alaska. Funded through the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Institutes of General Medical S...
Article
Full-text available
Wild game consumption has been associated with health benefits but the acute influence on human protein metabolism remains unknown. We compared feeding-induced responses of equivalent amounts of free-range reindeer (FR) and commercial beef (CB) on protein kinetics using stable isotope methodology. Seven participants (age: 40 ± 14 years; body mass i...
Preprint
Full-text available
Older, obese adults are compromised by muscle atrophy and excess adipose tissue. We have previously demonstrated that the acute ingestion of essential amino acids may augment net protein balance in the elderly. Using a double blind, randomized controlled trial, our objective was to compare an experimental meal replacement enriched with essential am...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background: Physical activity is recommended to mitigate the incidence of obesity, but delivery of community wide initiatives is cumbersome. The challenges met by such programs are magnified when implementation transpires in the remote villages of Alaska. To overcome the difficulty of this challenge in the Arctic, the Skiku/AK Nordic crosscountry s...
Article
Full-text available
Hibernation is a state of extraordinary metabolic plasticity. The pathways of amino acid metabolism as they relate to nitrogen homeostasis in hibernating mammals in vivo are unknown. Here we show, using pulse isotopic tracing, evidence of increased myofibrillar (skeletal muscle) protein breakdown and suppressed whole-body production of metabolites...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Arduous physical and environmental conditions complicate optimal performance during military special operations. We have recently developed an Alaska backcountry expeditionary hunting (ABEH) paradigm that may parallel US Army Ranger training conducted in remote, unscripted environments, including chronic physical activity, significant load carriage...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The aging world population is rapidly increasing, and incidence of age-related disease now poses a global health problem. This aging sector is prone to increases in fat mass with loss of skeletal muscle, or sarcopenic obesity, and all its associated health complications. The need exists for accurate and time-efficient assessment methods to determin...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Background. Older, obese adults are compromised by muscle atrophy and excess adipose tissue. While weight loss is typically recommended, low fitness levels limit the efficacy of exercise as a weight loss strategy and caloric restriction can exacerbate the incidence of sarcopenia and osteopenia in the elderly. We have previously demonstrated that th...
Article
Full-text available
Wildland fire suppression presents a working environment that often exceeds an energy expenditure of 20 MJ/day. However maladaptive seasonal responses in adiposity and blood lipid profiles have been noted. PURPOSE: To determine changes in clinical health metrics and serum lipids resulting from 5 months of seasonal wildland fire suppression. METHODS...
Article
Full-text available
As the knowledge base and importance of mitochondrial physiology to evolution, health and disease expands, the necessity for harmonizing the terminology concerning mitochondrial respiratory states and rates has become increasingly apparent. The chemiosmotic theory establishes the mechanism of energy transformation and coupling in oxidative phosphor...
Article
Wild game consumption has been associated with health benefits, but the influence on protein metabolism remains unknown. We compared the feeding-induced response of equivalent amounts of free-range reindeer (FR) and commercial beef (CB) on protein metabolism using stable isotope methodology. Seven male and female participants (age: 38±12 years; bod...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Introduction. The dietary and activity patterns of humans during the agricultural, industrial, and digital revolutions has changed drastically from the hunter/gatherer lifestyle pursued for 84,000 generations. Unfortunately, we are now facing an obesity pandemic. Data surrounding dietary intake, energy expenditure, and metabolism of the hunter/gath...
Article
Full-text available
This short article provides a brief summary of the data collection and research findings from our ongoing work with athletes participating in the Yukon Arctic Ultra (the longest and coldest ultramarathon). The project represents a unique collaboration between the University of Alaska Fairbanks and Dr. Mathias Steinach at the Center for Space Medici...
Poster
Full-text available
Excess alcohol consumption has been ranked as a major risk factor for death and disability. Supervised treatment for alcohol use disorder is unlikely; fatty liver will likely develop and the risk of liver disease increases. We have demonstrated that an essential amino acid supplement (EAAS) can improve protein synthesis and may reduce intrahepatic...
Poster
Full-text available
Introduction Dietary intake of total fats and saturated fats as a percentage of the total calories has decreased over the past three decades in the US. However, the consumption of omega-6 (ω-6) to omega-3 (ω-3) fatty acids has progressively increased to 20:1 or more. Elevations in ω-6:ω-3 ratios have been linked to obesity and may also negatively i...
Preprint
Full-text available
As the knowledge base and importance of mitochondrial physiology to human health expands, the necessity for harmonizing the terminology concerning mitochondrial respiratory states and rates has become increasingly apparent. The chemiosmotic theory establishes the mechanism of energy transformation and coupling in oxidative phosphorylation. The unif...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose: The objective of this study was to determine alterations in caloric balance, body composition, metabolites, and cytokines in athletes participating in the Yukon Arctic Ultra. Methods: Ten participants traveling on foot in the 2017 692-km event were recruited for the study. Measurements and samples were obtained at pre-event, 278 km (C1), 3...
Article
Full-text available
Background and Aims Older individuals are susceptible to the loss of muscle and accumulation of fat. To address this problem, we have compared protein kinetics following consumption of an essential amino acid (EAA)-enriched meal replacement (EMR) to consumption of a high-protein meal replacement beverage (Bariatric Advantage, BA) using stable isot...
Poster
Full-text available
Background and Aims: Older individuals are susceptible to the loss of muscle and accumulation of fat. To address this problem, we have compared protein kinetics following consumption of an essential amino acid (EAA)-enriched meal replacement (EMR) to consumption of a high-protein meal replacement beverage (Bariatric Advantage, BA) using stable isot...
Article
Full-text available
The purported healthy aspects of subsistence foods have led to the popularity of the Paleo diet. There has been very little focus, surprisingly, on health benefits derived from the nomadic nature of humans during the Paleolithic era. The purpose of our study was to examine total energy expenditure (TEE), total energy intake (TEI), body composition,...
Presentation
The objective of this presentation was to identify the importance of nutrition and physical activity during the Paleolithic period. Recent work from my research group detailing energy expenditure in hunter-gatherers was provided and discussed in relation to nutrient intake.
Presentation
The objective of this presentation was to provide information on the importance of physical activity with regard to epigenetics in children and adolescents.
Presentation
Full-text available
I presented information related to seasonal metabolic alterations in Alaska wildland firefighters during the 2017 fire season. A variety of analytical strategies were utilized including molecular imaging of skeletal muscle and intrahepatic lipid to characterize the occupational stress endured by wildland firefighters.
Poster
Full-text available
The purpose of this study was to evaluate seasonal changes in body composition, intrahepatic lipid, and blood lipids in wildland firefighters.
Presentation
The purpose of this presentation was to provide a theoretical and applied framework for the translational research model. The challenges of conducting clinical trials in the Mountain West region of the United States was also discussed in relation to the mission of the Northwest Participant Clinical Interactions Network
Preprint
Full-text available
In view of the broad implications for health care, mitochondrial researchers face an 121 increasing responsibility to disseminate their fundamental knowledge and novel discoveries to 122 a wide range of stakeholders and scientists beyond the group of specialists. This requires 123 implementation of a commonly accepted terminology within the discipl...
Article
Full-text available
Epidemiological investigations have supported the healthy benefits of subsistence foods. Surprisingly, the health benefits derived from the nomadic nature of humans during the Paleolithic era have been understudied. Hunting and gathering activity that occurs far from the conveniences of civilization on public land most likely represent the closest...
Presentation
This purpose of this presentation was focused on a metabolic continuum that ranges from resilience to disease, and how nutrition and physical activity play a role in avoiding the disability threshold.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Objective: The objective of this study was to determine the potential roles of follistatin and myostatin on body composition under conditions of prolonged physical activity, chronic cold exposure, and remote isolation. Methods: Participants traveling on foot in the 2017 Yukon Arctic Ultra 692-km (430-mile) were recruited for the study. Measurements...
Article
Full-text available
Introduction: The Alaska Mountain Wilderness Ski Classic is a self-supported ultramarathon cross-country skiing event that traverses one of the mountain ranges of Alaska each winter. Unique aspects of this event challenge athletes with a significant amount of physical and mental stress while in the chronically cold conditions of the Arctic. Assess...
Presentation
The healthy benefits of subsistence hunting and fishing as part of the Alaskan Native lifestyle was described. Results of ongoing studies from our research group were discussed.
Presentation
This presentation provided information related to sustainable program for physical activity in Alaska Native youth. Remote and environmentally challenging communities present unique challenges. They also provide exceptional opportunities linked to subsistence that allow students to learn about activity and how it relates to overall health.
Article
Full-text available
Studies on human physical performance in extreme environments have effectively approached the investigation of adaptation mechanisms and their physiological limits. As scientific interest in the interplay between physiological and psychological aspects of performance is growing, we aimed to investigate cardiac autonomic control, by means of heart r...
Presentation
The challenges presented to clinical research organization and academic institutions were discussed in detail. In particular, problems related to participant recruitment and clinician engagement were described and solutions were evaluated.
Article
Full-text available
The age-related concomitant loss of skeletal muscle and accumulation of excess adipose tissue has been commonly referred to as sarcopenic obesity. While weight loss may help mitigate the metabolic abnormalities linked to obesity, low fitness levels and muscle atrophy complicate the effectiveness of lifestyle interventions. Due to low levels of comp...
Presentation
Steller sea lion (SSL; Eumetopius jubatus ) pups routinely alternate between feeding and fasting, corresponding to dams’ absence during foraging trips. Prior research suggests dams extend foraging trips when prey resources are limited. We propose that comparing proportions of recently fed pups sampled on rookeries over a broad spatio-temporal range...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose: Variations in skeletal muscle peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator 1-alpha (PGC-1∝), carntine palmitoyltransferase (CPT-1), perilipin protein (PLIN2), and adipose tissue triglyceride lipase (ATGL), and comparative gene identification-58 (CGI-58) have been described to play important roles in the metabolic regulation...
Article
Full-text available
Objective: Cardiac cachexia is a condition associated with heart failure, particularly in the elderly, and is characterized by loss of muscle mass with or without the loss of fat mass. Approximately 15% of elderly heart failure patients will eventually develop cardiac cachexia; such a diagnosis is closely associated with high morbidity and increas...
Article
Full-text available
Abstract Background: There is a great deal of controversy as to whether higher protein intake improves or worsens insulin sensitivity in humans. The purpose of the study was to determine the influence of a short-term elevation in dietary protein on hepatic and peripheral insulin sensitivity in twelve older subjects (51–70 yrs) with metabolic syndro...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
RESULTS • There was no difference in time to completion between men and women (125±20.1 hours and 119.3±18.0 hours, respectively, p=0.6). • Pack weights relative to body mass were significantly lower in men (20.7±2.0%) compared to women (25.9±5.4%). • Pre-and Post-race percent fat mass was significantly lower in men (14.8±4.0% and 12.8±3.5%) compar...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
www.PosterPresentations.com PURPOSE: The Alaska Mountain Wilderness Ski Classic (AMWSC) is considered to be one of the most challenging ultra endurance race in the world. The event has endured for more than two decades and various courses have traversed the Wrangell St. Elias, Chugach, Brooks and Alaska mountain ranges. There are no food drops, res...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
There is great potential for the use of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) to provide real-time analyses of current metabolite levels in the human body. Due to the fact that urine contains many end products of biochemical pathways, it is an ideal fluid for metabolic analysis. In this pilot study we examine the potential differences in certain metabol...
Article
Full-text available
Introduction. The Institute of Translational Health Sciences (ITHS) promotes and supports translational research collaboration between clinicians, communities, and investigators across the five-state Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho (WWAMI) region. The ITHS has developed a collaborative regional clinical research network, the Northwe...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose The Yukon Arctic Ultra is considered the longest and coldest ultraendurance event in the world. Cold exposure and exercise has been reported to influence circulating levels of myokines, adipokines, and hepatokines that may influence considerable alterations in the regulation of metabolism. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the influe...
Article
Full-text available
PURPOSE: The Yukon Arctic Ultra is considered the longest and coldest ultraendurance event in the world. Recently, cold exposure and exercise have been reported to influence circulating levels of myo-, adipo- and hepato-kines that may influence the “browning” of white adipose tissue. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the influence of the Yuk...
Article
Full-text available
There is a general perception that increased physical activity will improve glucose homeostasis in all individuals. While this is an attractive concept, this conclusion may be overly simplistic and even misleading. The topic was reviewed extensively over 30 years ago and it was concluded that acute exercise enhances glucose uptake. However, in some...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Cancers are often accompanied with loss of muscle mass, referred to as cancer cachexia, with poor outcome and quality of life. To determine effects of different amino acid (AA) doses on changes in whole body net protein balance (NB) [i.e., protein synthesis (PS) – protein breakdown (PB)] and its interaction with glucose/insulin infusion, eight canc...
Research
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Dietary supplementation of leucine/EAAs and phytosterols may promote favorable reductions of blood lipids and insulin resistance in individuals with hypertriglyceridemia.
Article
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Background: Hyperlipidemia and insulin resistance are risk factors for the development of metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease. We have previously observed that supplementation with essential amino acids (EAA) could lower plasma triglycerides, and may improve glucose metabolism. Objective: We sought to determine whether EAA's combined w...
Article
Full-text available
Context. The exact relationship between the bed rest-induced loss of skeletal muscle and reductions in muscle strength and physical performance in the older individuals is still unclear. Objective. We examined the effect of 10 days of bed rest on changes in regional body composition, muscle strength, and functional status, and the relationship betw...
Article
Full-text available
Lysine supplementation may have a positive influence on the regulation of glucose metabolism but it has not been tested in the geriatric population. Objective: We evaluated the impact of acute lysine supplementation using three randomized experimental scenarios: 1) oral glucose alone (control), 2) oral glucose and low-dose lysine (2 grams), and ora...