Vitor Lira

Associate Professor


  • Muscle biology
  • Autophagy
  • Protein synthesis
  • Exercise physiology
  • Substrate metabolism

Center affiliations

Courses taught

  • HHP:4510 Energy Metabolism in Health and Disease
  • HHP:6510 Advanced Energy Metabolism in Health and Disease
  • HHP:4410 Exercise Physiology
  • HHP:6410 Advanced Exercise Physiology
  • HHP:4130 Skeletal Muscle Physiology
  • HHP:6130 Advanced Skeletal Muscle Physiology
  • HHP:4500 Undergraduate Independent Study
  • HHP:6000 Graduate Research
  • HHP:6400 Integrative Physiology Seminar

Research interests

Age-related impairments in protein quality control (i.e., the dynamic regulation of a balanced, functional proteome) lead to metabolic and contractile dysfunctions in skeletal and cardiac muscles that are associated with a variety of health problems (e.g., sarcopenia, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, and cancer). Our overall research goal is to determine the protein quality control mechanisms that become compromised with aging thereby identifying novel targets for therapy. Deciphering the intracellular and cross-tissue pathways responsible for the exercise- and calorie restriction-mediated improvements of quality control processes is also of major interest. We conduct functional studies combining unbiased approaches (e.g., proteomics, metabolomics) with molecular biology and mouse genetics.

Full list of published work in NCBI Google Scholar

Recent select publications

Penniman CM, Bhardwaj G, Nowers CJ, Brown CU, Junck TL, Boyer CK, Jena J, Fuqua JD, Lira VA, O'Neill BT. Loss of FoxOs in muscle increases strength and mitochondrial function during aging. J Cachexia Sarcopenia Muscle. 2023 Feb;14(1):243-259.

Bock JM, Hanson BE, Miller KA, Seaberg NT, Ueda K, Feider AJ, Hanada S, Lira VA, Casey DP. Eight weeks of inorganic nitrate/nitrite supplementation improves aerobic exercise capacity and the gas exchange threshold in patients with type 2 diabetes. J Appl Physiol (1985). 2022 Dec 1;133(6):1407-1414.

Turner KD, Kronemberger A, Bae D, Bock JM, Hughes WE, Ueda K, Feider AJ, Hanada S, de Sousa LGO, Harris MP, Anderson EJ, Bodine SC, Zimmerman MB, Casey DP, Lira VA. Effects of Combined Inorganic Nitrate and Nitrite Supplementation on Cardiorespiratory Fitness and Skeletal Muscle Oxidative Capacity in Type 2 Diabetes: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial. Nutrients. 2022 Oct 25;14(21).

Harris MP, Zhang QJ, Cochran CT, Ponce J, Alexander S, Kronemberger A, Fuqua JD, Zhang Y, Fattal R, Harper T, Murry ML, Grueter CE, Abel ED, Lira VA. Perinatal versus adult loss of ULK1 and ULK2 distinctly influences cardiac autophagy and function. Autophagy. 2022 Sep;18(9):2161-2177.

Lamin V, Verry J, Dokun OS, Kronemberger A, Wong T, Lira VA, Dokun AO. microRNA-29a Regulates ADAM12 Through Direct Interaction With ADAM12 mRNA and Modulates Postischemic Perfusion Recovery. J Am Heart Assoc. 2022 Aug 16;11(16):e025727.

Senna GW, Dantas EHM, Scudese E, Brandão PP, Lira VA, Baffi M, Ribeiro LCP, Simão R, Thomas E, Bianco A. Higher Muscle Damage Triggered by Shorter Inter-Set Rest Periods in Volume-Equated Resistance Exercise. Front Physiol. 2022;13:827847.

Lamin V, Verry J, Eigner-Bybee I, Fuqua JD, Wong T, Lira VA, Dokun AO. Modulation of miR-29a and ADAM12 Reduces Post-Ischemic Skeletal Muscle Injury and Improves Perfusion Recovery and Skeletal Muscle Function in a Mouse Model of Type 2 Diabetes and Peripheral Artery Disease. (2021) Int J Mol Sci. Dec 31;23(1). doi: 10.3390/ijms23010429.

Sebag SC, Zhang Z, Qian Q, Li M, Zhu Z, Harata M, Li W, Zingman LV, Liu L, Lira VA, Potthoff MJ, Bartelt A, Yang L. ADH5-mediated NO bioactivity maintains metabolic homeostasis in brown adipose tissue. Cell Rep. 2021 Nov 16;37(7):110003.

Morales PE, Monsalves-Álvarez M, Tadinada SM, Harris MP, Ramírez-Sagredo A, Ortiz-Quintero J, Troncoso MF, De Gregorio N, Calle X, Pereira RO, Lira VA, Espinosa A, Abel ED, Lavandero S. Skeletal muscle type-specific mitochondrial adaptation to high-fat diet relies on differential autophagy modulation. FASEB J. 2021 Oct;35(10):e21933.

Bhardwaj G, Penniman CM, Jena J, Suarez Beltran PA, Foster C, Poro K, Junck TL, Hinton AO Jr, Souvenir R, Fuqua JD, Morales PE, Bravo-Sagua R, Sivitz WI, Lira VA, Abel ED, O'Neill BT. Insulin and IGF-1 receptors regulate complex I-dependent mitochondrial bioenergetics and supercomplexes via FoxOs in muscle. J Clin Invest. 2021 Sep 15;131(18).

Zhang Z, Qian Q, Li M, Shao F, Ding WX, Lira VA, Chen SX, Sebag SC, Hotamisligil GS, Cao H, Yang L. The unfolded protein response regulates hepatic autophagy by sXBP1-mediated activation of TFEB. Autophagy. 2021 Aug;17(8):1841-1855.

Okutsu M, Yamada M, Tokizawa K, Marui S, Suzuki K, Lira VA, Nagashima K. Regular exercise stimulates endothelium autophagy via IL-1 signaling in ApoE deficient mice. FASEB J. 2021 Jul;35(7):e21698.

Klionsky DJ, Abdel-Aziz AK, Abdelfatah S,…Lira, VA, et al. Guidelines for the use and interpretation of assays for monitoring autophagy (4th edition)1. Autophagy. 2021 Jan;17(1):1-382.

Sousa LGO, Marshall AG, Norman JE, Fuqua JD, Lira VA, Rutledge JC, Bodine SC. The effects of diet composition and chronic obesity on muscle growth and function. J Appl Physiol (1985). 2021 Jan 1;130(1):124-138.

Yamada M, Hokazono C, Tokizawa K, Marui S, Iwata M, Lira VA, Suzuki K, Miura S, Nagashima K, Okutsu M. Muscle-derived SDF-1α/CXCL12 modulates endothelial cell proliferation but not exercise training-induced angiogenesis. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2019 Dec 1;317(6):R770-R779.

Fuqua JD, Mere CP, Kronemberger A, Blomme J, Bae D, Turner KD, Harris MP, Scudese E, Edwards M, Ebert SM, de Sousa LGO, Bodine SC, Yang L, Adams CM, Lira VA. ULK2 is essential for degradation of ubiquitinated protein aggregates and homeostasis in skeletal muscle. FASEB J. 2019 Nov;33(11):11735-11745.

Yamada M, Iwata M, Warabi E, Oishi H, Lira VA, Okutsu M. p62/SQSTM1 and Nrf2 are essential for exercise-mediated enhancement of antioxidant protein expression in oxidative muscle. FASEB J. 2019 Jul;33(7):8022-8032.

Stauss HM, Stangl H, Clark KC, Kwitek AE, Lira VA. Cervical vagal nerve stimulation impairs glucose tolerance and suppresses insulin release in conscious rats. Physiol Rep. 2018 Dec;6(24):e13953. doi: 10.14814/phy2.13953.

Boland L, Burand AJ, Brown AJ, Boyt D, Lira VA, Ankrum JA. IFN-γ and TNF-α Pre-licensing Protects Mesenchymal Stromal Cells from the Pro-inflammatory Effects of Palmitate. Mol Ther. 2018 Mar 7;26(3):860-873.

Tsushima K, Bugger H, Wende AR, Soto J, Jenson GA, Tor AR, McGlauflin R, Kenny HC, Zhang Y, Souvenir R, Hu XX, Sloan CL, Pereira RO, Lira VA, Spitzer KW, Sharp TL, Shoghi KI, Sparagna GC, Rog-Zielinska EA, Kohl P, Khalimonchuk O, Schaffer JE, Abel ED. Mitochondrial Reactive Oxygen Species in Lipotoxic Hearts Induce Post-Translational Modifications of AKAP121, DRP1, and OPA1 That Promote Mitochondrial Fission. Circ Res. 2018 Jan 5;122(1):58-73.

Research areas
  • Human physiology
This is a picture of Vitor Lira
PhD, Exercise Physiology, University of Florida
Contact Information

University of Iowa
4324 Pappajohn Biomedical Discovery Building (PBDB)
169 Newton Road
Iowa City , IA 52242
United States


University of Iowa
4310E Pappajohn Biomedical Discovery Building (PBDB)
169 Newton Road
Iowa City , IA 52242
United States

Phone Number