Dr. Thomas Lowder

Assistant Professor

Office Number: 104W GAR
Phone: 713-743-4187
Fax: 713-743-9860


Mailing Address:
3875 Holman St., Rm 104 Garrison
Houston, TX 77204-6015

Website:Facebook page for my lab

Download Curriculum Vitae

Research Interests

I have spent my entire research career studying lung diseases and the role that exercise training plays in enhancing pulmonary function. I possess a broad-based foundation of knowledge and skills in both human and animal models of lung disease and in study design. My past work has demonstrated the beneficial effects of moderate aerobic exercise training in mice infected with influenza virus, with a significantly reduced mortality rate and a significant reduction in inflammatory cytokines compared with non-exercised mice. My work was the first to show that exercise can significantly enhance regulatory T cell (Treg) function in a mouse model of asthma, as well as a significantly Treg-mediated reduction in Th2 cytokine production. Presently my lab is investigating two distinct models of lung dysregulation in a mouse model and in human subjects.

Through the generation of a mouse model that overexpresses K-ras, which leads to reliable and predictable tumor development, we are investigating mechanisms as to why we see a significantly reduced tumor burden in both male and female mice following exercise training. We have found an even more enhanced reduction in tumors in our female mice when compared to our male mice; as such we are examining sex differences and the role(s) that hormones (e.g. estrogen and progesterone) play in tumorigenesis and inflammation. This work is currently funded by a CPRIT grant.

Our human studies are examining the role of supervised exercise training in a rare lung disease that affects females almost exclusively, lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM). This disease, which usually presents during a female’s reproductive years, has no cure. Other than immunosuppressive drug interventions (rapamycin) which have significant side effects, or lung transplantation, there are no treatments for this disease. Our intervention is improving pulmonary function, exercise tolerance, body composition, and bone mineral density in women with LAM. We are presently investigating the mechanism(s) responsible for these changes. Beginning in the fall of 2014 I will have three full-time PhD students working on this project exclusively. We are designing pilot projects to investigate how exercise and lifestyle interventions may improve sleep quality in patients with LAM, as sleep desaturation is common in these individuals. We are also pursuing the effects that LAM has on the heart, as a decreased in pulmonary function can have deleterious effects on cardiac function. Finally, we are pursuing a multi-center collaborative effort with multiple medical centers and LAM clinics to expand our study nationally.

Recent Publications and Research Activity

Thanawala, V, Forkuo, G, Sawalha, N, Nguyen, LP, Tuvim, M, Lowder, TW, Dickey, BF, Knoll, BK, Bond, RA. ß2-adrenoceptor agonists are required for development of the asthma phenotype in a murine model. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. 2013; 48(2):220-229.

LaVoy, EC, Bosch, JA, Lowder, TW, Simpson, RJ. Acute aerobic exercise in humans increases cytokine expression in CD27- but not CD27+CD8+ T cells. Brain Behavior and Immunity. 2013; 27(1):54-62.

Pence, BD, Lowder, TW, Keylock, KT, Vieira Potter, VJ, Cook, MD, McAuley, E, Woods, JA. Relationship between systemic inflammation and delayed-type hypersensitivity response to candida antigen in older adults. PLoS One. 2012;7(5):e36403.

Palanisami, A, Fang, J, Lowder, TW, Kunz, H, and Miller, JH. Rapid sizing of isolated mitochondria using Brownian motion. Analytical Methods. 2012; 4:513-521.

Bigley, AB, Lowder, TW, Spielmann, G, Rector, JL, Pircher, H, Woods, JA, Simpson, RJ. NK-cells have an impaired response to acute exercise and a lower expression of the inhibitory receptors KLRG1 and CD158a in humans with latent cytomegalovirus infection. Brain Behavior and Immunity. 2012; 26(1):177-186.

Simpson, R, Lowder, TW, Spielmann, G, Bigley, AB, LaVoy, EC, Kunz, H. Exercise and the aging immune system. Aging Research Reviews. 2011; 11(3):404-420.

Carpenter, K, Strohacker, K, Breslin, W, Lowder, T, Agha, NH, McFarlin, BK. Effects of exercise on weight loss and monocytes in obese mice. Complimentary Medicine. 2012; 62(1):21-26.

Lowder, TW, Kunz, HE. Regulatory T cells in asthma and airway hyperresponsiveness. Journal of Allergy and Therapy. 2011; S1:002. doi:10.4172/2155-6121.

Zhang, L, Layne, C, Lowder, T. A review focused on the psychological effectiveness of Tai Chi on different populations. Evidence Based Complement and Alternative Medicine. 2012; 2012:678107

Bigley, AB, Lowder, TW, Spielmann, G, Rector, JL, Pircher, H, Simpson, RJ. Latent cytomegalovirus infection is associated with altered NK-cell phenotype and blunted NK-cell mobilization in response to acute exercise. Brain Behavior and Immunity. 2011; 26(1):177-86.

Woods, JA, Keylock, KT, Lowder, T, Vieira, VJ, Zelkovich, W, Dumich, S, Colantuano, K, Lyons, K, Leifheit, K, Cook, M, Champan-Novakofski, K, McAuley, E. Cardiovascular exercise training extends influenza vaccine seroprotection in sedentary older adults: the immune function intervention trial. Journal of the American Geriatric Society. 2009; 57(12):2183-91.

Lowder, T, Dugger, K, Deshane, J, Estell, K, Schwiebert, L. Repeated bouts of aerobic exercise enhance regulatory T cell responses in a murine asthma model. Brain Behavior and Immunity. 2009.;24(1):153-159.

Dugger K, Lowder TW, Tucker TA, Schwiebert LM. Epithelial cells as immune effector cells: the role of CD40. Seminars in Immunology. 2009; 21(5):289-92.

Woods, JA, Keylock, KT, Lowder, T, Vieira, VJ, Zelkovich, W, Dumich, S, Colantuano, K, Lyons, K, Leifheit, K, Cook, M, Chapman-Novakofski, K, McAuley, E. Cardiovascular exercise training extends influenza vaccine seroprotection in sedentary older adults: the immune function intervention trial. Journal of American Geriatric Society. 2009; 57(12):2183-2191.

Grant, RW, Mariani, RA, Vieira, VJ, Fleshner, M, Smith, TP, Keylock, KT, Lowder, TW, McAuley, E, Hu, L, Chapman-Novakofski, K, Woods, JA. Cardiovascular exercise intervention improves the primary antibody response to keyhole limpet hemocyanin (KLH) in previously sedentary older adults. Brain Behavior and Immunity. 2008; 22(6):923-932.

*Keylock, K, *Lowder, T, Leifheit, K, Cook, M, Mariani, R, Ross, K, Kim, K, Chapman-Novakofski, K, McAuley, E, Woods, J. Higher antibody, but not cell-mediated responses to vaccination in high physically fit elderly. Journal of Applied Physiology. 2006; 102(3):1090-1098. *Denotes equal first-authorship

Lowder, TW, Padgett, DA, Woods, JA. Moderate exercise reduces the influenza virus-induced Th1 inflammatory response in lungs of mice. Exercise Immunology Review. 2006; 12:97-111.

Lowder, TW, Padgett, DA, Woods, JA. Moderate exercise protects mice from death due to influenza. Brain Behavior and Immunity. 2005; 19(5):377-80.

Woods, JA, Ceddia, MA, Zack, MD, Lowder, TW, Lu, Q. Exercise training increases the naive to memory T cell ratio in old mice. Brain Behavior and Immunity. 2003; 17(5):384-92.

Woods, JA, Lowder, TW, Keylock, KT. Can exercise training improve immune function in the aged? Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 2002; 959:117-27.

Woods, J, Lu, Q, Ceddia, MA, Lowder, T. Special feature for the Olympics: effects of exercise on the immune system: exercise-induced modulation of macrophage function. Immunology and Cellular Biology. 2000; 78(5):545-53.

Manuscripts Currently in Review

Lowder, T. Exercise and asthma. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine.

Diak, D, Abadi, P, Bernardo, J, Pulicken, C, Moghaddam, S, Lowder, TW. Exercise training significantly decreases tumorigenesis in a K-ras mouse model of non-small cell lung cancer. American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology.

Kabiri, L, Whitney, T, Almoosa, K, Lowder, T. Supervised exercise effects in patients with lymphangioleiomyomatosis. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.


B.S. in Health Sciences at University of Nevada-Reno, 1997

M.S. in Kinesiology at University of Illinois, 2004

Ph.D. in Kinesiology at The University of Illinois, 2006

Post-doc in Kinesiology at The University of Alabama at Birmingham, 2009