Adam J Santanasto

  • Assistant Professor

My current research interests are to understanding the biological causes of age-related declines in physical function and to uncover novel therapeutic targets (primarily related to skeletal muscle aging) to preserve physical function, prevent disability and prolong years of active life expectancy in older adults.

I am in year 5 of a 5-year K01 that aimed to expand these interests to include the investigation of DNA, RNA and protein-based biomarkers for physical function. Preliminary results of the K01 have lead to a strong interest in systemic and skeletal muscle fibrosis and its affect on physical function in older adults. To this end, I have begun to investigate the role of tissue fibrosis in the disablement pathway and physical function.

Further, our team has been following the aforementioned cohort of African Caribbeans for over 20 years, and I have been interested in how their unique musculoskeletal characteristics influences their physical function. To this end, I received R01 funding (project start date: 4/1/2022) to comprehensively phenotype physical function in this cohort – with an overall aim to determine underlying mechanisms influencing physical function that may be unique to this cohort or shared with other populations.



2008 | University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA | BS, Health Information Management
2010 | University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA | MPH, Epidemiology
2013| University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA | PhD, Epidemiology


Selected Publications

Full bibliography (57 publications):

  1. Santanasto AJ, Zmuda JM, Cvejkus RK, Gordon CL, Nair S, Carr JJ, Terry JG, Wheeler VW, Miljkovic I. Thigh and Calf Myosteatosis are Strongly Associated with Muscle and Physical Function in African Caribbean Men. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2022 Jun 6:glac124. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glac124. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35661875.
  2. Santanasto AJ, Miljkovic I, Cvejkus RK, Boudreau RM, Wheeler VW, Zmuda JM. Body Composition Across the Adult Lifespan in African Caribbean Men: The Tobago Longitudinal Study of Aging. J Frailty Aging. 2022;11(1):40-44. doi: 10.14283/jfa.2021.47. PMID: 35122089; PMCID: PMC8963274.
  3. Santanasto AJ, Wojczynski MK, Cvejkus RK, Lin S, Wang L, Thyagarajan B, Christensen K, Schupf N, Feitosa MF, An P, Zmuda JM. Identification of a Novel Locus for Gait Speed Decline With Aging: The Long Life Family Study. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2021 Sep 13;76(10):e307-e313. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glab177. PMID: 34156441; PMCID: PMC8436996.
  4. Jones G*, Trajanoska K*,Santanasto AJ*, Stringa N*, Kuo C-L*, Atkins JL*, Lewis JR, Duong T, Hong S, Biggs ML, Luan Ja, Sarnowski C, Lunetta KL, Tanaka T, Wojczynski MK, Cvejkus R, Nethander M, Ghasemi S, Yang J, Zillikens MC, Walter S, Sicinski K, Kague E, Ackert-Bicknell CL, Arking DE, Windham BG, Boerwinkle E, Grove ML, Graff M, Spira D, Demuth I, van der Velde N, de Groot LCPGM, Psaty BM, Odden MC, Fohner AE, Langenberg C, Wareham NJ, Bandinelli S, van Schoor NM, Huisman M, Tan Q, Zmuda J, Mellstrom D, Karlsson M, Bennett DA, Buchman AS, De Jager PL, Uitterlinden AG, Volker U, Kocher T, Teumer A, Rodriguez-Manas L, Garcia Garcia FJ, Carnicero JA, Herd P, Bertram L, Ohlsson C, Murabito JM*, Kuchel GA*, Ferrucci L*, Melzer D*, Karasik D*, Rivadeneira F*, Kiel DP*, Pilling LC*. Genome-wide meta-analysis of muscle weakness identifies 15 susceptibility loci in older men and women. Nature communications 12, 654, doi:10.1038/s41467-021-20918-w (2021).*Denotes equal first/senior authors.
  5. Santanasto AJ, Cvejkus RK, Wojczynski MK, Marron MM, Schupf N, Christensen K, Thyagarajan B, Zmuda JM. Circulating Procollagen type III N-terminal peptide (P3NP) and Physical Function in Adults from The Long Life Family Study. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2021 Jun 14;76(7):1273-1279. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glaa197.PMID: 32794566
  6. Marron MM, Wendell SG, Boudreau RM, Clish CB,Santanasto AJ, Tseng GC, Zmuda JM, Newman AB. Metabolites associated with walking ability among the oldest old from the CHS All Stars study. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2020 Nov 13;75(12):2371-2378. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glaa030. PubMed PMID: 31970383; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC7662173.
  7. Cawthon PM, Manini T, Patel SM, Newman AB, Travison T, Kiel DP,Santanasto AJ, Ensrud KE, Xue Q, Shardell M, Duchowny K, Erlandson KM… Bhasin S. Putative cut-points in sarcopenia components and incident adverse-health outcomes: an SDOC analysis. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2020 Jul;68(7):1429-1437. doi: 10.1111/jgs.16517. Epub 2020 Jul 7. PubMed PMID: 32633824; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC7508260.
  8. Santanasto AJ, Miljkovic I, Cvejkus RK, Wheeler VW, Zmuda JM. Sarcopenia Characteristics are associated with Incident Mobility Limitations in African Caribbean Men: The Tobago Longitudinal Study of Aging. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2020 Jun 18;75(7):1346-1352. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glz233. PubMed PMID: 31593581; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC7302169.
  9. Santanasto AJ, Marron MM, Boudreau RM, Feitosa MF, Wojczynski MK, Arbeev KG, Thyagarajan B, Schupf N, Stallard E, Sebastiani P, Cosentino S, Christensen K, Newman AB. Prevalence, Incidence and Risk Factors for Overall, Physical and Cognitive Independence among those from exceptionally long-lived families: The Long Life Family Study. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2020 Apr 17;75(5):899-905. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glz124. PubMed PMID: 31086986; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC7164521.
  10. Glynn NW, Gmelin T,Santanasto AJ, Lovato LC, Lange-Maia BS, Nicklas BJ, Fielding RA, Manini TM, Myers VH, de Rekeneire N, Spring BJ, Pahor M, King AC, Rejeski WJ, Newman AB. Impact of Baseline Fatigue on a Physical Activity Intervention to Prevent Mobility Disability. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2020 Mar;68(3):619-624. doi: 10.1111/jgs.16274. Epub 2019 Dec 22. PubMed PMID: 31867713.
  11. Braganza A, Corey CG,Santanasto AJ, Distefano G, Coen PM, Glynn NW, Nouraie SM, Goodpaster BH, Newman AB, Shiva S. Platelet bioenergetics correlate with muscle energetics and are altered in older adults. JCI Insight. 2019 May 23;5. doi: 10.1172/jci.insight.128248. PubMed PMID: 31120438; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6629251.
  12. Santanasto AJ, Miljkovic I, Cvejkus RC, Gordon CL, Bunker CH, Patrick AL, Wheeler VW, Zmuda JM. Body Composition Remodeling and Incident Mobility Limitations in African Ancestry Men. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2019 Feb 15;74(3):400-405. doi: 10.1093/gerona/gly067. PubMed PMID: 29659706; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6376082.
  13. Forman DE,Santanasto AJ, Boudreau R, Harris T, Kanaya AM, Satterfield S, Simonsick EM, Butler J, Kizer JR, Newman AB. Impact of Incident Heart Failure on Body Composition Over Time in the Health, Aging, and Body Composition Study Population. Circ Heart Fail. 2017 Sep;10(9). doi: 10.1161/CIRCHEARTFAILURE.117.003915. PubMed PMID: 28899988; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5658007.
  14. Santanasto AJ, Glynn NW, Lovato LC, Blair SN, Fielding RA, Gill TM, Guralnik JM, Hsu FC, King AC, Strotmeyer ES, Manini TM, Marsh AP, McDermott MM, Goodpaster BH, Pahor M, Newman AB. Effect of Physical Activity versus Health Education on Physical Function, Grip Strength and Mobility. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2017 Jul;65(7):1427-1433. doi: 10.1111/jgs.14804. Epub 2017 Feb 21. PubMed PMID: 28221668; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5507738.
  15. Santanasto AJ*, Goodpaster BH, Kritchevsky SB, Miljkovic I, Satterfield S, Schwartz AV, Cummings SR, Boudreau RM, Harris TB, Newman AB. Body Composition Remodeling and Mortality: The Health Aging and Body Composition Study. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2017 Apr 1;72(4):513-519. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glw163. PubMed PMID: 27567109; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5897837. *Editors Choice.
  16. Santanasto AJ, Coen PM, Glynn NW, Conley KE, Jubrias SA, Amati F, Strotmeyer ES, Boudreau RM, Goodpaster BH, Newman AB. The relationship between mitochondrial function and walking performance in older adults with a wide range of physical function. Exp Gerontol. 2016 Aug;81:1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.exger.2016.04.002. Epub 2016 Apr 12. PubMed PMID: 27084585; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5483943.
  17. Santanasto AJ, Glynn NW, Jubrias SA, Conley KE, Boudreau RM, Amati F, Mackey DC, Simonsick EM, Strotmeyer ES, Coen PM, Goodpaster BH, Newman AB. Skeletal Muscle Mitochondrial Function and Fatigability in Older Adults. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2015 Nov;70(11):1379-85. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glu134. Epub 2014 Aug 28. PubMed PMID: 25167867; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4612379.
  18. Santanasto AJ, Newman AB, Strotmeyer ES, Boudreau RM, Goodpaster BH, Glynn NW. Effects of Changes in Regional Body Composition on Physical Function in Older Adults: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial. J Nutr Health Aging. 2015 Nov;19(9):913-21. doi: 10.1007/s12603-015-0523-y. PubMed PMID: 26482693.
  19. Glynn NW,Santanasto AJ, Simonsick EM, Boudreau RM, Beach SR, Schulz R, Newman AB. The Pittsburgh Fatigability scale for older adults: development and validation. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2015 Jan;63(1):130-5. doi: 10.1111/jgs.13191. Epub 2014 Dec 31. PubMed PMID: 25556993; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4971882.
  20. Santanasto AJ, Glynn NW, Newman MA, Taylor CA, Brooks MM, Goodpaster BH, Newman AB. Impact of weight loss on physical function with changes in strength, muscle mass, and muscle fat infiltration in overweight to moderately obese older adults: a randomized clinical trial. J Obes. 2011;2011. doi: 10.1155/2011/516576. Epub 2010 Oct 10. PubMed PMID: 20953373; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2952914.