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One-of-a-Kind Facilities

The UC Irvine Pediatric Exercise & Genomics Research Center (PERC) is one of the few in the nation with both a state-of-the-art pediatric human performance laboratory to conduct exercise tests, as well as a functional genomics laboratory equipped with cutting-edge platforms to evaluate impacts at the molecular level. Both the environment and research methodologies are tailored to children.

Children are not little adults. Experimental procedures involving children must conform to ethical and feasibility standards not often encountered in other areas of translational research.

PERC has assembled a group of exercise physiologists, biomedical engineers and computer scientists with the experience and expertise to incorporate these special considerations into their work as they explore exercise as medicine.

Novel methodologies that make PERC pediatric studies possible include:

  • Modified testing protocols to use limited volumes of blood and saliva for genomic and epigenetic assays
  • Accelerometers that are re-engineered to be worn by premature babies and wirelessly record movements of all four limbs
  • Use of exhaled breath to measure naturally occurring trace gases that reflect metabolism
  • Nontraditional exercise testing protocols that focus on how quickly bodies respond to (and recover from) individual bouts of exercise

These capabilities attract collaborators from leading research institutions to explore innovative ways to study exercise and genomics in the pediatric population.