Research and Teaching Interests
Research projects in the lab include experiments that examine:
- processes of satellite cell activation in normal, old and regenerating skeletal muscles
- regulation of satellite cell activation and quiescence in different species (fish, mouse, human)
- cytoskeletal proteins and muscle fiber stability in development and disease
- human muscle disease pathophysiology and response to treatment
- muscle-specific responses in relation to outcomes of disease and treatment
- in vivo studies of muscle responses to Nitric Oxide-donor drugs and exercise in dystrophy and aging
- in vivo studies of re-innervation during muscle regeneration
Topics such as the mechanisms of cell injury in normal and dystrophic muscle, compensatory muscle regeneration and hypertrophy, and the effects of various therapies or voluntary exercise on muscle repair, satellite cell activation, muscle growth, bone density and age-related atrophy are examined using a large variety of cellular, molecular and whole-animal in vivo assays of function. In human studies, the measures are clinical assessment techniques and in vitro assays of biopsy-muscle status, cell proliferation, and gene expression.
Students receive training with a ‘systems’ biology approach through courses, bench work, lab discussions and publications spanning a broad range of muscle-biology questions using studies at the level of single cells, tissues, animals and humans. Education research has the goal to help improve health care through interprofessional learning.
Studies of satellite cell activation via nitric oxide have opened an exciting area of research on muscle regeneration, growth and the muscle-fiber cytoskeleton that integrates mechanical and biochemical signal transduction with cell and molecular biology of muscle tissue in growth, development, disease, aging and evolution.