Charles Lang, MS, PhD

    Calculated based on number of publications stored in Pure and citations from Scopus
    1980 …2023

    Research activity per year

    Personal profile

    Research interests

    For the past 35 years, Dr. Charles Lang's research has focused on the mechanisms by which catabolic insults produce changes in glucose and protein metabolism in skeletal and cardiac muscle, and the role of immunomodulators in regulating muscle wasting and cardiac function.

    The Lang laboratory has made seminal contributions to understanding the translational control exerted by growth factors and nutrients during catabolic states, including sepsis, burns, disuse atrophy, diabetes and alcohol misuse. Currently, funded by an MERIT Award from the NIH, the lab's research is aimed at better understanding the cellular mechanism by which chronic alcohol abuse and acute alcohol intoxication impair muscle protein balance.

    The Lang lab's early work was the first to identify alcohol-induced decreases in mRNA translation and mTOR activity in muscle. Distinct from the protein synthetic changes produced by sepsis, which was also pursued in the past, the alcohol-induced changes were found to be independent of inflammatory cytokines and steroids. Moreover, although skeletal muscle and heart are both striated muscle, the data highlighted the different cellular mechanism of action by which alcohol adversely impacts these two tissues.

    Recent work has focused on the ability of alcohol to impair leucine, insulin and IGF-I action in muscle as well as its ability to completely antagonize contraction-induced accretion of muscle protein synthesis. Lang's work has also documented that alcohol negatively interacts with other catabolic insults, such as disuse or aging, resulting in a synergistic interaction on muscle protein balance affecting both the synthetic and degradative side of the protein balance equation.

    The Lang lab's studies employee in vivo approaches to assess the clinical and translational relevance, and in vitro systems of C1C12 myotubes so that mechanistic details can be better defined.

    A second area of research interest involves sepsis-induced changes in muscle protein metabolism both synthetic and degradative pathways.

    Teaching and educational interests

    Dr. Charles Lang is Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and oversees educational activities related to the multiple doctoral, master’s and certificate programs at Penn State College of Medicine. He has been recognized as a Distinguished Educator for the breadth and depth of his experiences training the next generation of physicians, scientists and clinician-scientists. He was the director for two interdisciplinary courses in the medical curriculum and director for an intercampus graduate-level course in physiology. He is currently the co-director for Biomedical Research Ethics. He has served as director of the intercollege doctoral program in Molecular Medicine.

    Dr. Lang has focused on training top graduate and medical students for careers in translational science as the past Program Director for T32 postdoctoral NIGMS-funded training grant and as director of the TL1 component for Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute. He has mentored postdoctoral fellows (MDs and PhDs), surgical residents and graduate students, many of whom have garnered F-awards from the NIH. He has served on mentoring committees for junior faculty with K-awards and through the Junior Faculty Development Program, and on the Executive Committee for the Physician Scientist Training Program.

    Dr. Lang has been a member/chair of committees focused on curriculum development and review, academic progress, and LCME accreditation. He has been a permanent member/chair of multiple NIH study sections. He has been a reviewer for education and research training grants, including FIPSE and fellowships from the Shriner’s Hospital and NIGMS. He is the past editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Physiology: Endocrinology and Metabolism, and has given invited seminars on research and publication misconduct. Dr. Lang is devoted to the advancement of science though improving training and mentorship.

    Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

    In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

    • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
    • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

    Education/Academic qualification

    Postdoctoral Fellow, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center


    PhD, Hahnemann University Medical College


    External positions

    Councilor, American Physiological Society


    President, Shock Society



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