Skeletal muscle wasting is associated with various conditions of reduced use, such as bedrest, cast immobilization, and spinal cord injury, as well as various diseases, such as cancer, aids, diabetes, and heart failure. This muscle wasting not only affects physical function, but also patient prognosis and increases mortality.
There are currently no pharmacological countermeasures to counteract muscle wasting. In part, this is due to the fact that scientists are only beginning to understand the molecular regulation of skeletal muscle wasting during various conditions.
Our work is focused on understanding the regulation of cell signaling pathways in skeletal muscle that appear to be important in the progression muscle wasting. Our laboratories use genetic, pharmacological and rehabilitative tools to manipulate these pathways to identify targets and countermeasures to treat this deleterious condition.
Additionally, we study muscle regeneration and regrowth, which occurs in reambulating muscles following a period of inactivity. Although muscles from young healthy individuals typically regenerate and regrow well, muscles from elderly fail to regenerate and recover muscle mass and function following muscle disuse. Our work is focused on understanding the molecular mechanisms that contribute to failed muscle regrowth and atrophy following neural injury, which will ultimately lead to the development of effective treatment strategies.