Research News

Kinesiology’s Schrage selected for appointment as a Vilas Associate

March 20, 2015

UW-Madison’s William Schrage earlier this year was selected for an appointment as a Vilas Associate.

Schrage is an associate professor with the Department of Kinesiology who is focusing on how nerves and blood vessels control blood flow in response to exercise and environmental stressors like low oxygen. His lab studies how conditions like obesity alter control, and how this may contribute to cardiovascular disease later in life. (For more details, visit the BioDynamics Lab home page.)

William Schrage
Schrage took the time to conduct a short Q&A about his Vilas Associate appointment.

Question: This award recognizes excellence in research. What will your focus of study be moving forward?

Schrage: "This Vilas project focuses on testing how conditions like pre-diabetes change the way the brain manages blood flow. As obesity progresses towards diabetes, adults transition through pre-diabetes. Brain diseases like stroke or dementia are more common in these patients. Our lab is looking at how metabolic signals that work poorly in diabetes might contribute to diseases in the brain, buy changing the way blood moves through the brain."

Question: How does the Vilas Associate award fit in with your department’s mission?

Schrage: "It ultimately fits in finding ways to improve human health. This project is aimed at addressing blood flow problems years before problems are discovered in the doctor’s clinic. This knowledge might be applied to improve blood vessel function, and possibly decrease disease risk and maintain brain health as they age.

"The Vilas project allows me to address complex human cardiovascular conditions by maximizing talents of a cross disciplinary team. We collaborate with neuroscientists from the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, and imaging experts from Radiology and Medical Physics. The Vilas support allows us to incorporate powerful 3-dimensional blood flow studies using world-class MRI technology, housed at the Wisconsin Institute for Medical Research (WIMR). This award reinforces to me that I can continue to inquire, question and explore and I have the support to so."

Question: What does it mean to you as a researcher and educator to be recognized by our peers for this prestigious award?

Schrage: "I am grateful for being a part of a rich academic environment that is willing to recognize innovation as much as foster it. I am excited to get to work and have results to show for this honor."

The university’s Vilas Associates Award competition recognizes new and ongoing research of the highest quality and significance. Recipients are chosen competitively by the Divisional Research Committees of the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education on the basis of a detailed proposal. This Vilas Associate appointment provides partial summer salary for 2015 and 2016, and also provides $12,500 in flexible research funding for each of the next two fiscal years.