Alyson Wessells Is Leading Exercise Research With An Unusual Specimen


My guest on the show today is a scientist on the cutting edge of exercise research.

She studies the genetics of exercise using an uncommon specimen- fruit flies.

Today I will go a few easy miles with Alyson Wessells as we delve into what exciting discoveries her research may hold.

Alyson Wessells

Trail Therapy

Running entered Alyson’s life while she was in graduate school as a way to provide her an outlet from the stress.

It didn’t take long for Alyson to discover the trail community and become hooked.

Detroit, Michigan may not be known for the trails, but that hasn’t stopped Alyson.

“Sometimes you don’t even know what’s in your backyard, you just need to know where to look.”

Alyson has found a plethora of trails nearby to run on for her ultra training.

At the age of 35, Alyson is just beginning her ultra journey.

This past year she just completed her first 50-miler and is signed up for her first 100 this upcoming year.

Alyson thrives on new challenges that continue to push her limits.


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Failure Is Part Of The Process

Failure is a common theme both in the lab setting and in the sport of running.

There will always be experiments that aren’t successful or races that don’t go as planned.

Self-discovery often comes out of failure and is part of the learning experience.

“The pursuit is part of the reward.”

Part of the challenge for Alyson is finding different ways to fail so that she can succeed later.

Her work in the lab is one such example of how success is a series of ups and downs and is very rarely a linear path.

Alyson has been steadily working on her study of fruit flies and exercise for the past decade and has made significant progress.

Alyson Wessells

Fruit Flies And The Future

Fruit flies are an ideal specimen to study exercise science because their genes are easy to manipulate.

In the time it would take to study 1 gene in 1 mouse, thousands of fruit fly genes can be analyzed.

The genetic changes in fruit flies after exercise are similar to those in humans.

The research Alyson is conducting could potentially help with medical costs in the future.

There are numerous problems that could be solved with the help of her research.

Everyone from paraplegics to the everyday athlete could eventually benefit from the knowledge.

Alyson is excited about other future experiments such as the possibility of activating fat genes metabolically.

Relentless forward progress is Alyson’s motto both in the lab and in her running.


Mentioned In This Episode:

Stay connected with Alyson by following her on Instagram and Twitter.


Alyson Wessells is an exercise scientist focused on studying the genetics of exercise using fruit flies. #runchat Click To Tweet


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