Assistant Professor (on leave)
Division of Nutritional Sciences

109 Savage Hall


Anna Thalacker-Mercer, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University (since 2012).  She received her doctorate degree through the Interdepartmental Nutrition Program in the Department of Nutrition Science at Purdue University where she developed a strong background in geriatric nutrition and the mechanisms underlying aging skeletal muscle. She continued her research training as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Center for Aging Translational Research Program and the Center for Exercise Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). Her research program at Cornell is currently focused on identifying and understanding nutrient and metabolic determinants of skeletal muscle regeneration and deterioration that occur with advancing age and disease. 

Identifying mechanisms/metabolic disturbances underlying impaired muscle regeneration; Identifying and characterizing metabolic disturbances underlying the aging skeletal muscle phenotype

Peer-reviewed (*corresponding author)

  1. Gheller B, Blum J, Merritt E, Cummings B, and *Thalacker-Mercer A. Peptide YY (PYY) is expressed in human skeletal muscle tissue and expanding human muscle progenitor cells. (In Review)

  2. Riddle E, Bender E and *Thalacker-Mercer A. Expansion capacity of human myogenic progenitor cells differs by age, sex, and metabolic fuel preference. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 18 OCT 2018

  3. Riddle E, Bender E and *Thalacker-Mercer A. Transcript profile distinguishes variability in human myogenic progenitor cell expansion capacity. Physiol Genomics. 2018 Oct 1;50(10):817-827

  4. Roberts B, Lavin K, Many G, Thalacker-Mercer A, Merritt E, Bickel CS, Mayhew D, Tuggle SC, Cross J, Kosek D, Petrella J, Brow C, Hunter G, Windham S, Allman R, and Bamman M. Human Neuromuscular Aging: Sex Differences Revealed at the Myocellular Level. Exp Gerontol. 2018 Jun;106:116-124

  5. Stec M, Thalacker-Mercer A, Mayhew D, Kelly N, Tuggle S, Merritt E, Brown C,  Vaughn K, Windham S, Dell’Italia L, and Bamman M. Randomized, Four-Arm, Dose-Response Clinical Trial to Optimize Resistance Exercise Training for Older Adults with Age-Related Muscle Atrophy. Exp Gerontol. 2017 Dec 1;99:98-109.

  6. Taesuwan S, Cho C, Malysheva O, Bender E, Yan J, Thalacker-Mercer A, Caudill M. The metabolic fate of isotopically labeled trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO) in humans. J Nutr Biochem. 2017 Jul;45:77-82.

  7. Mentch SJ, Mehrmohamadi M, Huang L, Liu X, Gupta D, Mattocks D, Gómez Padilla P, Ables G, Bamman MM, Thalacker-Mercer AE, Nichenametla SN, Locasale JW. Histone Methylation Dynamics and Gene Regulation Occur through the Sensing of One-Carbon Metabolism. Cell Metab. 2015 Sep 22. pii: S1550-4131(15)00457-X.

  8. Thalacker-Mercer A, Ingram K, Guo F, Newgard C, and Garvey W. Amino Acids and Insulin Sensitivity in Humans: positive correlation between glycine and clamp measures of insulin sensitivity, and negative correlation with leucine/isoleucine, are differentially affected by BMI, RQ, and diabetes. Diabetes. 2014 Feb;63(2):791-800. PMCID: PMC3900549.

  9. Day K, Waite L, Thalacker-Mercer A, West A, Bamman M, Brooks J, Myers R, and Absher D. Differential DNA methylation with age is a result of both common and tissue-specific effects that are influenced by CpG landscape. Genome Biol. 2013 Sep;14(9):R102. PMCID: PMC4053985.

  10. Merritt E, Stec M, Thalacker-Mercer A, Windham S, Cross J, Shelley D, Tuggle S, Kosek D, Kim J, and Bamman, M. Heightened muscle inflammation susceptibility may impair regenerative capacity in aging humans. J Appl Physiol (1985). 2013 Sep;115(6):937-48. PMCID: PMC3764621

  11. Merritt E, Thalacker-Mercer A, Cross J, Windham S, Thomas S, Bamman M. Increased expression of atrogenes and TWEAK family members after severe burn injury in non-burned human skeletal muscle. J Burn Care Res. 2013 Sep-Oct;34(5):e297-304. PMCID: PMC3770758

  12. Thalacker-Mercer A, Stec M, Cui X, Cross J, Windham S, and Bamman M. Cluster analysis reveals differential transcript profiles associated with resistance training-induced human skeletal muscle hypertrophy. Physiol Genomics. 2013 Jun 17;45(12):499-507. PMCID: PMC3680779

  13. Kwak HB, Thalacker-Mercer AE, Anderson EJ, Lin CT, Kane DA, Lee NS, Cortright RN, Bamman MM, and Neufer PD. Simvastatin impairs ADP-stimulated respiration and increases mitochondrial oxidative stress in primary human skeletal myotubes. Free Radic Biol Med. 2011 Oct 25. PMCID: PMC3313473

  14. Thalacker-Mercer AE, Fleet JC, Craig BA, and Campbell WW. The skeletal muscle transcript profile reflects accommodative responses to inadequate protein intake in younger and older males. J Nutr Biochem. 2010 Nov;21(11):1076-82. PMCID: PMC2891367

  15. Thalacker-Mercer AE, Dell’Italia LJ, Cui X, Cross JM, and Bamman MM. Differential genomic responses in old vs. young humans despite similar levels of modest muscle damage after resistance loading. Physiological Genomics. Physiol Genomics; 2010 Feb 4;40(3):141-9. PMCID:PMC2825766

  16. Thalacker-Mercer AE, Petrella JK, Bamman MM. Does habitual dietary intake influence myofiber hypertrophy in response to resistance training? A cluster analysis. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2009 Aug;34(4):632-9. PMCID:PMC3188961

  17. Stull AJ, Iglay HB, Apolzan JW, Thalacker-Mercer AE, and Campbell WW. Liquid and solid meal replacement products differentially affect postprandial appetite and food intake in older humans. J Am Diet Assoc. 2008 Jul;108(7):1226-30. PMCID:PMC2556245

  18. Thalacker-Mercer AE, Johnson CA, Yarasheski KE, Carnell NS, Campbell WW. Nutrient ingestion, protein intake, and sex, but not age affect albumin synthesis rate in humans. J Nutr 2007 July; 137 (7): 1734-40. PMCID:PMC3885871

  19. Thalacker-Mercer AE, Fleet JC, Craig BA, Carnell NS, Campbell WW. Inadequate protein intake affects skeletal muscle transcript profiles in older humans. Am J Clin Nutr 2007 May; 85(5):1344-52. PMCID:PMC244791                                                                                                                       

Chapters, Reviews, and Proceedings Articles (*corresponding author)

  1. *Thalacker-Mercer A, Riddle R, Barre L. The role of dietary protein and amino acids in skeletal muscle health. Advances in Food & Nutrition Research (Academic Press/Elsevier). (In progress).

  2. Thalacker-Mercer A, Muller M, and Ellison, K. Sex-related differences in protein metabolism that impact the post-exercise recovery in older adults. (in progress).

  3. Gheller BJ, Riddle ES, Lem MR, *Thalacker-Mercer A. Understanding age-related changes in skeletal muscle metabolism: differences between females and males. Annu Rev Nutr. 2016 Jul 17;36:129-56.

  4. Riddle E, Stipanuk M, and *Thalacker-Mercer A. Amino Acids in Healthy Aging Skeletal Muscle. Front Biosci (Elite Ed). 2016 Jan 1;8:326-50.

  5. *Thalacker-Mercer AE and Drummond MJ. Protein metabolism in inactive older adults. New York Academy of Sciences. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2014 Aug 12

  6. Guoyao Wu, Jessica Fanzo, Dennis D. Miller, Prabhu Pingali, Mark Post, Jean L. Steiner, and Anna E. Thalacker-Mercer. Production and supply of high-quality food protein for human consumption: sustainability, challenge and innovations. NYAS Annals Meeting Reports. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2014 Aug;1321(1):1-19

  7. Krista Casazza, Lynae J. Hanks, Anna Thalacker-Mercer. Insulin-like growth factor system in different ethnic groups and relationship with growth and health. The Handbook of Growth and Growth Monitoring in Health and Disease. 

  8. Thalacker-Mercer AE, and Campbell WW. Dietary protein intake affects albumin fractional synthesis rate equally in younger and older adults.  Nutr Rev. 2008 Feb;66(2):91-5

  9. Campbell, WW, Carnell, NS, and Thalacker, AE.  Protein Metabolism and Requirements.  Geriatric Nutrition; The Health Professional’s Handbook. 3rd Ed. 2006 p15-22

Web-based Peer-Reviewed Publications (*corresponding author)

  1. Gheller, B.J., Blum, J., Soueid-Baumgarten, S., Bender, E., Cosgrove, B.D., *Thalacker-Mercer, A. Isolate, culture, characterize, and differentiate human muscle progenitor cells from the skeletal muscle biopsy procedure. Under Review: Journal of Visualized Experiments

  2. *Thalacker-Mercer AE. Counterbalancing Functional Deficits from Acute Illness Hospitalization. The Deep South CME Network, UAB Geriatric Education Center, UAB Division of CME. May 2012.

  3. Herrington HL, Lawrence JC, Ponder A, Thalacker-Mercer AE, Willis AS, McLinn J.  Weight Management in Older Adults. The Deep South CME Network, UAB Geriatric Education Center, UAB Division of CME. November 2012.

Reviewer: Journals of Gerontology, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Journal of Nutrition, Obesity, Nutrition Reviews, Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, Advances in Nutrition, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Journal Frontiers in Exercise Physiology, Journal Frontiers in Skeletal Muscle Physiology



While I take every opportunity to teach and learn from others, I am enthusiastic about formal classroom teaching. I recognize that all students are unique in their learning process and therefore, I incorporate multiple tools to relay course material. Additionally, I am committed to training undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in biomedical science. I believe that hands-on, interactive, goal-oriented research training is the best approach to prepare young investigators for a scientific career. Regular meetings are used to encourage goal development, data interpretation, scientific writing and reading, study design, grantsmanship, and troubleshooting. I strive to keep lines of communication open with my mentees, encouraging them to offer suggestions and new insights to protocols and/or outcomes.

NS6320 Regulation of Macronutrient Metabolism

NS3200 Human Biochemistry

NS6190 Field of Nutrition Seminar

NS7030--Graduate student presentation, Faculty Mentor

NS4010, BIO2990, BIO4990--Undergraduate research, Faculty Research Mentor 

NS8990--Graduate Research, Faculty Mentor

Guest Lecturer: 

NS4410 Nutrition and Disease

Postdoc 2007-2010 - University of Alabama at Birmingham, Advisor, Marcas Bamman, Ph.D.

Ph.D. 2007 - Nutrition Sciences, Purdue University, Advisor, Wayne Campbell, Ph.D.

B.S. 2000 - Biological Sciences, University of Georgia

Faculty advisor, Nutrition Graduate Student Organization--Spring 2018


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