Dr. Walter Frontera is a Professor in both the Department of Physical Medicine, Rehabilitation, and Sports Medicine and the Department of Physiology and Biophysics at the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine. Dr. Frontera was presented with an award at the Rusk Rehabilitation Research Symposium held on Friday June 16 and his presentation at that symposium will be aired in a future segment. This interview is part 1 of 2 and explores Dr. Frontera's insights on mitochondrial function of skeletal muscle, his areas of research, the kinds of patients that he treats, arriving at accurate diagnoses, and translation of clinical findings and evidence-based research to the bedside.
Dr. Frontera's main research interest is geriatric rehabilitation and in particular the study of the mechanisms underlying muscle atrophy and weakness in the elderly. Based on his studies of human sarcopenia, he has developed rehabilitative interventions using therapeutic exercise to slow down or reverse skeletal muscle alterations associated with advanced adult age. Dr.Frontera has served as the Inaugural Professor and Head of the Department of PM&R at Harvard Medical School and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston and also as Chief of the PM&R Service at the Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women’s Hospitals. He has more than 230 scientific publications including 96 peer-reviewed articles and 16 edited books, along with presenting more than 220 invited lectures in 53 countries. Currently, Dr. Frontera serves as the Editor-in-Chief of The American Journal of PM&R. In 2008, he was elected member of the National Academy of Medicine. He completed his medical studies and a residency in physical medicine and rehabilitation at the University of Puerto Rico and he has a doctoral degree in applied anatomy and physiology from Boston University.