Dr. Hanaoka is conducting clinical studies to understand the reasons behind the decline in skeletal muscle function and physical activity in patients with rheumatic diseases, particularly in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Her research is primarily focused on understanding at a mechanistic level the metabolic and physiologic abnormalities of skeletal muscle in RA patients. More specifically, she is investigating if insulin resistance is an underlying cause of skeletal muscle dysfunction in RA patients by conducting clinical trials utilizing an insulin sensitizer. This research is being supported by a K23 NIAMS patient-oriented career development award. Dr. Hanaoka is also conducting additional collaborative studies with her husband, Dr. Prabha Nagareddy (UAB - Nutrition Sciences), and Dr. Andrew Murphy (Baker IDI Institute, Melbourne, Australia) to examine the molecular pathways that contribute to increased cardiovascular disease risk in RA patients.