Lisa Anne Borgia is a recipient of the Greg Marzolf Jr. Trainee award and is currently conducting muscle research on horses, which may provide beneficial
clinic information to scientists studying muscular dystrophy. She has her master’s degree in Avian Ecology from Florida International University, and a bachelor’s of science degree in Biology and a bachelor’s of science degree in Communication from Penn State. Lisa is in her last year of the PhD program in the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Minnesota. She lives in Minnetrista, Minn., is married and has a 24-year-old son who is currently in law school. We asked Lisa the following questions about her research:
Q: Can you summarize your research project?
A: My research looks at the effects of dietetics (specifically oil supplementation and carbohydrate content) on horses with a neuromuscular disease called Polysaccharide Storage myopathy, as well as muscle energetics in normal horses and the effect of training on normal muscle tissue.
Q: What draws you to your research?
A: I enjoy research in general, and have a life-long love of horses. These research projects give me the opportunity to work on muscle myopathies found in horses, which then may be related to human medicine by other researchers.
Q: Are you making any exciting advances?
A: My research has lead to a better understanding of the subcellular energetics that are associated with Polysaccharide Storage myopathy and contribute to the muscle pain cramping and pain these horses experience with exercise.
Q: How has support from the Greg Marzolf Jr. Foundation furthered your research efforts?
A: The support of the Greg Marzolf Jr. Foundation specifically allowed me to conduct an experiment that compared the response of two different muscle groups in normal horses to exercise, which I would not have been able to do otherwise. This research has led to a better understanding of the difference between these muscles in terms of energy production and fatigue under conditions of physical stress.
Q: What are your goals for your research?
A: I hope to be able to provide clinicians with practical and meaningful scientifically based dietetics for horses with this disease, and to provide information using the horse as an animal model for human medicine and specifically, for those studying muscular dystrophy and diabetes.