James A. Carson, PhD, Named Senior Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies in the College of Health Professions at UTHSC

Photo of James Carson, PhDDean Stephen E. Alway, PhD, announced that James A. Carson, PhD, has been named Senior Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies in the College of Health Professions at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, effective August 15, 2018.  Dean Alway said that “Dr. Carson has had extensive administrative, faculty and student mentoring, and research successes.  He chairs the top ranked Exercise Science Department in the country and he has developed outstanding undergraduate and graduate programs in a complex department that has substantive clinical outreach. He has mentored faculty research efforts and multiplied funding in his department across a vast array of scholarship areas.  He is a leader in the area of cancer cachexia and muscle biology and has been a well-funded and productive scientist for many years. These are a few of the elements that make him the ideal candidate for Senior Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies and to lead the research efforts in the College of Health Professions as we strive towards meeting our College’s Strategic Goals”

Dr. Carson was selected following a national search chaired by Dr. Donald B. Thomason, Dean of the College of Graduate Health Sciences. Outstanding finalists for the position of Senior Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies were identified, from whom Dr. Carson emerged as the best fit for the college and university. 

During his 19 years at the Arnold School of Public Health, Dr. Carson became a full professor (tenured) and held roles such as Division Head of Applied Physiology and Director for Graduate Studies in Exercise Science.  Dr. Carson most recently has served as a Professor and Chair of the Department of Exercise Science in the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina (USC) and also as the Associate Director Center for Colon Cancer Research at USC, in addition to directing the Integrative Muscle Biology Laboratory. Dr. Carson has a long career conducting research in muscle mass regulation and cancer cachexia and has mentored is funded by the National Institute of Health to study Cancer Cachexia. In April 2017, Dr. Carson was awarded the USC Educational Foundation Award for Research in Health Sciences. This is the most prestigious award for research and scholarship administered by the Office of the Provost at the University of South Carolina

Dr. Carson joined the Department of Exercise Science at the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina in 1999. Prior to joining USC, he completed two different postdoctoral research fellowships in physiology at the University of Texas Health Science Center Houston and cell biology at Baylor College of Medicine (for a combined total of six years) following his graduation from The Ohio State University where he earned a Ph.D. in Exercise Science.

Dr. Carson investigates the muscle wasting that is caused by cancer, called cancer cachexia, at the cellular and molecular level. This debilitating condition is involved in approximately 20 percent of all cancer deaths and is more prevalent in colon, lung, and pancreatic cancers. Using preclinical mouse models of disease, his laboratory examines the regulation of skeletal muscle metabolism caused by the cancer environment that serve to diminish overall health status. His laboratory is investigating the role of exercise and muscle contraction for attenuating or blocking cancer-induced muscle wasting. He has received multiple federal funding awards and currently is the primary investigator of a National Institute of Health R01 grant and serves as a co-investigator on several other grants. 

Dr. Carson’s work has resulted in more than 95 peer-reviewed publications in high impact factor journals and Dr. Carson’s dedication to mentorship is impressive and this has led him to work and train a variety of students. This includes mentoring more than 34 high school students (eight international exchange students and 26 South Carolina students), 20 undergraduate research fellows and chaired nine honors research theses for undergraduate students, has served on 18 master’s thesis committees, more than 20 doctoral committees for Ph.D. graduates, acting as committee chair for 13 doctoral students who have graduated, and currently serves as chair of five doctoral committees that are in progress. In addition, Dr. Carson has mentored three post-doctoral research fellows including one postdoctoral NIH Diversity Post-Doctoral fellow. In 2009, he received the Arnold School of Public Health faculty Research Award and in 2016 he was awarded the Distinguished Research Leadership Award from the South Carolina Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics. He is an active grant reviewer for several NIH study sections and is a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine.

 Dr. Carson states that “my Integrative Muscle Biology Laboratory employs molecular biology techniques with in vivo and in vitro models examining muscle plasticity. For many years we have been examining the regulation of muscle wasting with cancer cachexia. We are focused on the importance of muscle metabolic capacity on protein turnover and apoptosis regulation during initial and severe stages of wasting. I am honored and excited to join the College of Health Professions at UTHSC to help build the research and graduate training infrastructure within the college. I am also excited to join the strong group of cancer focused researchers at UTHSC and St. Jude, and I am very much looking forward to collaborating with many of these scientists as we look for ways to slow and counter this deadly disease and improve mobility and quality of life”.

Contact Us

College of Health Professions
930 Madison Avenue
6th Floor
Memphis, TN 38163
Phone: 901-448-5581