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Personal profile

Research Interests

As a research assistant professor with a background in both neuroscience and immunology, Dr. Kosmac’s experience identifying and characterizing monocyte and macrophage populations, has helped develop hery primary research goal of understanding macrophage functions during skeletal muscle adaptations to exercise, aging and disease. Macrophages are highly adaptable immune cells with known roles in skeletal muscle repair and regeneration following acute injury. However, relatively little is known regarding resident muscle macrophage functions during muscle perturbations and mobility loss associated with aging or chronic injury associated with disease. Furthermore, describing how muscle macrophages may influence metabolic responses in muscle under disease conditions may shed light on new mechanisms underlying disease associated losses in muscle mass and subsequent diminutions in muscle function and mobility. Understanding skeletal muscle macrophage functions that ameliorate or exacerbate disease may lead to new therapeutic approaches capable of effectively preventing or restoring diminished muscle function.

Additionally, Dr. Kosmac has an ongoing collaboration with Northwestern University focused on understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms of skeletal muscle underlying diminished function and mobility loss with peripheral artery disease (PAD). PAD is common, affecting over 200 million people worldwide, and results in disability and loss of independence. PAD is hemodynamic in origin; however, skeletal muscle changes within the gastrocnemius (calf) have been documented and damage to calf muscle is recognized as a significant contributor to functional impairment. In collaboration with Dr. Mary McDermott and her team at Northwestern University, Dr. Kosmac has identified novel cellular and morphological characteristics within the gastrocnemius muscle of patients with PAD. Identifying how muscle phenotype may predict individual patient responses to targeted intervention strategies, particularly exercise, will strengthen our understanding of personalized interventions most likely to produce effective, durable outcomes for patients suffering from PAD.

Curriculum Vitae




Home Address:

207 Habersham Court, Lexington KY 40517


Office Address:

University of Kentucky, College of Health Sciences, 900 South Limestone St., CTW 447, Lexington KY 40536-0200



Office Telephone:


Electronic Mail:



Certificate or Specialty Board Licensure:


Sponsoring Organization:


License Number










2002-06                 University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, B.S. in biology, graduated with honors

2006-13                 University of Alabama at Birmingham, Ph.D. in neuroscience,



2015-17                 Scientist I, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY.

2017-18                 Scientist II, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY.



2018-                                     Research Assistant Professor, Department of Physical Therapy, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY.






University / Local:



State / Regional:



National / International:




University of Kentucky:

2015 - present                                      UK CMB, Muscle Immunohistochemistry and Molecular Imaging (MIMIC) training and oversight of undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral researchers, MIMIC Co-Leader

11/12/2020                           HHS402G             Skeletal muscle changes with cardiovascular disease (CVD)

3/24/2021                             PT645                    Neurological disease: animal models and clinical considerations


Other Universities:

2008-10                                 University of Alabama at Birmingham, Introduction to Neurobiology (Neur 704), Dauphin Island Sea lab, Fall semester, 15-20 graduate level students, teaching assistant


Continuing Education/Workshops Taught:



Other Education Related Activities:

2008-09                                 University of Alabama at Birmingham and the McWane Science Center, Brain Awareness Week, Spring break, sheep brain & cow eyeball dissection



Master's Thesis/Project Committees – Graduates (in order by year):


Doctoral Degree Committees – Graduates and candidates (in order by year):


Dissertations or Theses Directed or Co‑directed:


Other Research Projects Directed (e.g. Capstone, Postdoctoral Supervision):


Student Advising:

Student Name


Academic Term/year




Alex Bugg


Fall 2015-16

Research training and project oversight

Calf muscle mitochondrial dysfunction and walking performance with peripheral artery disease.

Agricultural Biotechnology

Seth Walsh-Blackmore


Spring 2017

Research training

Alterations in intramyofibrillar lipid content within the quadriceps muscle of patients with moderate knee osteoarthritis.

Rehab sciences/ CHS

Jay Phillips


Summer 2017

Summer Research project advisor

Resistance exercise as an intervention to improve muscle strength in patients with moderate knee osteoarthritis

Agriculture, Food and Environment

Madison Hickey


Fall 2018 – Fall 2019

Research project advisor

Protein aggregation and oxidative damage, responses to progressive resistance training in aging poulations


Madelynn Owens


Fall 2018 – Spring 2019

Research project advisor

Morphological variations in calf muscle of individuals with peripheral artery disease

Human Health Sciences

Alex Simmons


Spring/Summer 2020

Research project advisor

Identification of calf muscle features associated with differentially expressed miRNAs with PAD and relationships with functional decline


Meghana Sharma


Fall 2021

Research project advisor

Investigating skeletal muscle responses to metformin from subjects with peripheral artery disease (PAD)

Psychology & Biology

Jonathan Starck


Fall 2021

Research project advisor

Skeletal muscle inflammation and pathology following SARS-CoV2 infection, association with functional outcomes


Jai Joshi


Fall 2021

Research project advisor

Exploring the angiotensin receptor blocker telmisartan to ameliorate skeletal muscle dysfunction in PAD
























University / Local:

2010                       Recipient, University of Alabama at Birmingham Robert Stroud award for outstanding research


State / Regional:



National / International:




Membership in Professional Societies:


Editor of Professional Journal:



Journal Reviewer:

Journal of Applied Physiology

Journal of the American Heart Association

Frontiers in Physiology

American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology

Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism

Experimental Gerontology


Grant Reviewer:



Textbook and Chapter Reviewer:






University / Local:

September 12, 2019: NURS 504, Muscle Forum. “Cellular and Morphological Variations in Gastrocnemius Muscle of Patients with Peripheral Artery Disease.” University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, US.


State / Regional:



National / International:

January 18, 2019:  Translational Gerontology Longitudinal Studies Section, National Institute on Aging. “Cellular and morphological variations in gastrocnemius muscle of patients with peripheral artery disease (PAD).” Co-investigator and primary presenter, Bethesda, MD, US.



Publications (underline student names)


Published Journal Articles:


Published Monographs, Books, Book Chapters:


Published Technical Reports or Policy Briefs


Published Reviews, Commentaries, Editorials, Magazine Article, or Reports:


Publications In-Press or Online Ahead of Print:


Publications Submitted or in Preparation (optional):


Refereed/Peer reviewed

Published Journal Articles:


  1. McDermott MM, Dayanidhi S, Kosmac K, Saini S, Slysz J, Leeuwenburgh C, Hartnell L, Sufit R, Ferrucci L. Walking exercise therapy effects on lower extremity skeletal muscle in peripheral artery disease. Circ Res. 2021;128(12):1851-1867
  2. McDermott MM, Ferrucci L, Gonzalez-Freire M, Kosmac K, Leeuwenburgh C, Peterson CA, Saini S, Sufit R. Skeletal muscle pathology in peripheral artery disease: A brief review. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2020;40:2577-2585
  3. Saini SK, McDermott MM, Picca A, Li L, Wohlgemuth SE, Kosmac K, Peterson CA, Tian L, Ferrucci L, Guralnik JM, et al. Mitochondrial DNA damage in calf skeletal muscle and walking performance in people with peripheral artery disease. Free Radic Biol Med. 2020;160:680-689
  4. Murach KA, Vechetti IJ, Jr., Van Pelt DW, Crow SE, Dungan CM, Figueiredo VC, Kosmac K, Fu X, Richards CI, Fry CS, et al. Fusion-independent satellite cell communication to muscle fibers during load-induced hypertrophy. Function (Oxf). 2020;1:zqaa009
  5. Saini SK, Li L, Peek CB, Kosmac K, Polonsky TS, Tian L, Criqui MH, Ferrucci L, Guralnik JM, Kibbe M, et al. Associations of poly (adp-ribose) polymerase1 abundance in calf skeletal muscle with walking performance in peripheral artery disease. Exp Gerontol. 2020:111048
  6. Kosmac K, Gonzalez-Freire M, McDermott MM, White SH, Walton RG, Sufit RL, Tian L, Li L, Kibbe MR, Criqui MH, Guralnik JM, Polonsky TS, Leeuwenburgh C, Ferrucci L and Peterson CA. 2020. Correlations of calf muscle macrophage content with muscle properties and walking performance in peripheral artery disease. J Am Heart Assoc. DOI:  1161/JAHA.118.015929
  7. Gonzalez-Freire M, Moore AZ, Peterson CA, Kosmac K, McDermott MM, Sufit RL, Guralnik JM, Polonsky T, Tian L, Kibbe MR, Criqui MH, Leeuwenburgh C and Ferrucci L. (2020). Associations of Peripheral Artery Disease with Calf Skeletal Muscle Mitochondrial DNA Heteroplasmy. J Am Heart Assoc. DOI: 10.1161/JAHA.119.015197
  8. McDermott, M.M., Criqui, M.H., Domanchuk, K., Ferrucci, L., Guralnik, J.M., Kibbe, M., Kosmac, K., Kramer, C.M., Leeuwenburgh, C., Lingyu, L., Lloyd-Jones, D.M., Peterson, C.A., Polonsky, T.S., Stein, J.H., Sufit, R., Van Horn, L.V., Villarreal, F.J., Zhang, D., Zhao, L. and Tialn, L. (2020). Coca to Improve Walking Performance in Older People with Peripheral Artery Disease: The Cocoa-Pad Pilot Randomized clinical Trial. Circultaion Research. PMCID: PMC7141749.
  9. Murach, K.A., Dungan, C.M., Kosmac K., Voigt, T.B., Tourville, T.W., Miller, M.S., Bamman, M.M., Peterson, C.A., Toth, M.J. (2019). Cores of Reproducibility in Physiology (CORP): Fiber Typing Human Skeletal Muscle with Fluorescent Immunohistochemistry. J Appl Physiol. PMCID: PMC6957370.
  10. Walton, R.G., C.M. Dungan, D.E. Long, S.C. Tuggle., Kosmac, B.D. Peck, H.M. Bush, A.G. Villasante-Tezanos, G. McGwin, S.T. Windam, F. Ovalle, M. M. Bamman, P.A. Kern and C.A. Peterson (2019). Metformin blunts muscle hypertrophy in response to progressive resistance exercise training in older adults: a randomized, double-blinjd, placebo-controlled, multi-center trial The MASTERS trial. Aging Cell. PMCID PMC6826125.
  11. Walton RG, Kosmac K, Mula J, Fry CS, Peck BD, Groshong JS, Finlin BS, Zhu B, Kern PA, and Peterson CA. (2019) Human skeletal muscle macrophages increase following cycle training and are associated with adaptations that may facilitate growth. Scientific Reports. 9(1):969. PMCID PMC6353900.
  12. Kosmac K, Peck BD, Walton RG, Mula J, Kern PA, Bamman MM, Dennis RA, Jacobs CA, Lattermann C, Johnson DL, and Peterson CA. Immunohistochemical Identification of Human Skeletal Muscle Macrophages. Bio Protoc 8, 2018. PMCID: PMC6105281.
  13. Noehren B*, Kosmac K*, Walton RG, Murach KA, Lyles MF, Loeser RF, Peterson CA, and Messier SP. Alterations in quadriceps muscle cellular and molecular properties in adults with moderate knee osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis Cartilage 26: 1359-1368, 2018. PMCID: PMC7050996.
  14. White SH, McDermott MM, Sufit RL, Kosmac K, Bugg AW, Gonzalez-Freire M, Ferrucci L, Tian L, Zhao L, Gao Y, Kibbe MR, Criqui MH, Leeuwenburgh C, and Peterson CA. Erratum to: Walking performance is positively correlated to calf muscle fiber size in peripheral artery disease subjects, but fibers show aberrant mitophagy: an observational study. J Transl Med 15: 45, 2017. PMCID: PMC5330018.
  15. Seleme MC*, Kosmac K*, Jonjic S, and Britt WJ. Tumor Necrosis Factor Alpha-Induced Recruitment of Inflammatory Mononuclear Cells Leads to Inflammation and Altered Brain Development in Murine Cytomegalovirus-Infected Newborn Mice. J Virol 91, 2017. PMCID: PMC5330018.
  16. Fry CS, Kirby TJ, Kosmac K, McCarthy JJ, and Peterson CA. Myogenic Progenitor Cells Control Extracellular Matrix Production by Fibroblasts during Skeletal Muscle Hypertrophy. Cell Stem Cell 20: 56-69, 2017. PMCID: PMC5218963.
  17. White SH, McDermott MM, Sufit RL, Kosmac K, Bugg AW, Gonzalez-Freire M, Ferrucci L, Tian L, Zhao L, Gao Y, Kibbe MR, Criqui MH, Leeuwenburgh C, and Peterson CA. Walking performance is positively correlated to calf muscle fiber size in peripheral artery disease subjects, but fibers show aberrant mitophagy: an observational study. J Transl Med 14: 284, 2016. PMCID: PMC5043620.
  18. Slavuljica I, Kvestak D, Huszthy PC, Kosmac K, Britt WJ, and Jonjic S. Immunobiology of congenital cytomegalovirus infection of the central nervous system-the murine cytomegalovirus model. Cell Mol Immunol 12: 180-191, 2015. PMCID: PMC4654296.
  19. Kosmac K, Bantug GR, Pugel EP, Cekinovic D, Jonjic S, and Britt WJ. Glucocorticoid treatment of MCMV infected newborn mice attenuates CNS inflammation and limits deficits in cerebellar development. PLoS Pathog 9: e1003200, 2013. PMCID: PMC3591306.


Published Monographs, Books, Book Chapters:

Publications In-Press or Online Ahead of Print:

Publications Submitted or in Preparation (optional):

Long DE, Peck BD, Lavin KM, Dungan CM, Kosmac K, Tuggle SC, Bamman MM, Kern PA and Peterson CA. Comprehensive analyses of muscle molecular and cellular properties show collagen organization and immune cell content are associated with response heterogeneity to resistance training in older persons. Geroscience in review.

Peck BD, Murach KM, Walton RG, Simmons AJ, Long DE, Kosmac K, Dungan CM, Kern PA, Bamman MM and Peterson CA. A muscle cell-macrophage axis involving matrix metalloproteinase 14 facilitates extracellular matrix remodeling with mechanical loading. FASEB in revision.

Saini SK, Perez-Cremades D, Cheng HS, Kosmac K, Peterson CA, Li L, Tian L, Ryan T, Sufit RL, Ferrucci L, McDermott MM, Leeuwenburgh C and Feinberg MW. Dysregulated genes, microRNAs, biological pathways and gastrocnemius muscle fiber types associated with progression of peripheral artery disease: a preliminary analysis. J Am Heart Assoc. in revision.


Abstracts/Peer-Reviewed Original Research Presentations:

University / Local:


State / Regional:


National / International:

February 2022, APTA CSM

Muscle dysfunction and functional outcomes in patients surviving and ICU admission for severe COVID-19 with acute respiratory failure. Remisetti H, Kosmac K, Dupont-Versteegden and Mayer KP.


Grant Activity

Approved and Funded - Extramural:

R01 AG066724                   (Multi-PI: Kosmac and Peterson)                                                    04/01/21 – 03/31/26

Novel gastrocnemius muscle characteristics in peripheral artery disease patients associated with impaired functional performance. Kosmac: 50% effort, total federal funds requested: $1,566,922.00.

R01 AG068458                   (PI: McDermott)                                                                                 07/01/21 – 06/31/26

COCOA flavinols to improve walking performance in PAD: the COCOA-PAD II Trial. Kosmac, co-Investigator: 10% effort, total federal funds requested: $4,068,135.00.

R01 AG057693                   (PI: McDermott)                                                                                 08/01/18 – 04/31/23

Intermittent pneumatic compression for disability reversal in PAD: the INTERCEDE trial. Kosmac: 20% (YR3), 15% (YR4-5) effort, total federal funds requested: $3,166,920.00.


Not Funded - Extramural:


Approved and Funded - Intramural:

UKY College of Health Sciences Pilot Project (PI: Kosmac, Co-PI: Mayer)                        03/01/21-03/31/22

Skeletal muscle pathology in ICU patients following SARS-CoV2 infection: association with muscle inflammation and functional outcomes. Kosmac: 20% effort, direct costs: $8,000.


Not Funded - Intramural:


Proposals Submitted:

R21 NIH Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant Program (PI: Kosmac)                      07/01/22 – 06/31/24

Skeletal Muscle Macrophages and Variable Response to Exercise in Peripheral Artery Disease. Kosmac: 30% effort, total federal funds requested: $397,505.00. Review: 02/2022.

U01 AG22011                                                      (PI: McDermott)                                                04/01/22 – 03/31/24

UroliThin A to Improve MobiLITY in PAD: the UTILITY Trial. Kosmac, co-Investigator: 10% effort, total federal funds requested: $459,234.00. Review: 11/2021.

R01 AG073257                                                   (PI: McDermott)                                                04/01/22 – 03/31/27

BEET root juice to reverse functional impairment in PAD: The BEET PAD Trial. Kosmac, subaward PI: 5% (RY1-3), 10% (YR4-5) effort, total federal funds requested: $106,538.00. Review: 10/21/2021.

R01 PAR-21-053                                                 (PI: Morris)                                                        12/01/21 – 11/30/25

Muscle and physical function recovery after acute critical illness. Kosmac,co-Investigator: 15% (YR3-5) effort, total federal funds requested: $890,559.00. Review: 11/2021.

R01 NIH Research Project Grant                     (PI: McDermott)                                                07/01/22 – 06/30/27

Response to Exercise and Nitric Oxide in PAD: the RESIST PAD Trial. Kosmac, subaward PI: 5% (RY1-3), 10% (YR4-5) effort, total federal funds requested: $163,964. Review: 02/2022.

R01 NIH Research Project Grant                     (PI: Saito)                                                            07/01/22 – 06/30/27

Novel Preventive and Therapeutic Strategies for Post-sepsis Chronic Muscle Weakness. Kosmac, co-Investigoator: 4% effort, total federal funds requested: $2,973,483.00. Review: 02/2022.

Innovative Instructional Materials, Teaching Technologies or Aids, Clinical Tools Published



Other Creative Activity







Media Exposure/Coverage















LAST REVISED: Update whenever vita is modified


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, Univ Of Alabama-Univ College



  • Q Science (General)
  • skeletal muscle
  • peripheral artery disease
  • immunology
  • aging


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