School of Medicine

Wayne State University School of Medicine

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Robert Wessells, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor & Recruitment Officer

5275 Scott Hall

Cardiac senescence; effects of exercise-training on functional aging; insulin/TOR signaling; fatty acid transporters

Dr. Wessells graduated with a B.S. in Zoology from Miami University in 1993 before acquiring a Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics from Ohio State University in 2000. He received postdoctoral training in fruit fly genetics and physiology at the University of Michigan and the Burnham Institute for Biomedical Research before taking his present position in 2006.


Exercise is a powerful protective factor against many age‐related diseases, including heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Our research focuses on understanding the molecular genetic mechanisms that underlie the benefits of exercise.
Using the Drosophila model system, we seek to understand neuronal factors that control exercise behavior, muscular factors
that control adaptation to training, and adipose factors that regulate metabolism in response to training.
We use lab‐specific techniques to induce exercise and study its effect on endurance, speed, flight, and cardiac performance.


A list of Dr. Wessells' publications can be found at: PubMed-Wessells

Awards & Honors
  • NIH Cardiovascular Research Trainee (2000)
  • AHA Postdoctoral Research Fellowship (2002)
  • Weinstein Foundation Young Investigator Award (2003)
  • Glenn Foundation Award For Research In Aging (2007)
Other Information

Dr. Wessells is interested in mentoring Physiology MS and PhD students.