Current Research projects in the Muscle Physiology and Biophysics Laboratory cover Basic and Applied Muscle Research.
- The effects of length and mechanical strain on the force produced by skeletal muscles/molecules and ATP kinetics.
- The contribution of different muscle proteins/molecules (myosin, actin, titin) to contraction and force generation.
- The mechanisms of the load-dependent myosin power stroke.
- The regulatory role of protein arginylation on muscle contractility and disease.
- The effects of mechanical ventilation on contractile properties of the diaphragm.
- The effects of genetic mutations and cardiomyopathy on the contractile properties of the heart.
- The effects of rheumatoid arthritis on muscle contractility.
- Development of Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) techniques for biological research.
- Development of micro/nano instrumentation for studies on molecular motors.
Research Techniques: The Muscle Physiology and Biophysics Laboratory uses an array of experimental preparations to understand how muscles work at different levels of analysis:
- Muscle cells are isolated from different species and tested in an experimental chamber with controlled media (solutions, pH, temperature), while force, sarcomere length and ionic activity can be measured.
- Muscle myofibrils are experimented in a newly designed Atomic Force Microscope with high time and spatial resolution and a set of different cameras for sarcomere length measurements using phase-contrast images or fluorescence techniques.
- Muscle sarcomeres and half-sarcomeres are the smallest functional units of muscles that maintain the three-dimensional lattice structure. They are investigated with a pioneer system developed in the laboratory in which pre-calibrated micro-needles are used for force measurements.