Cytokine Regulation of Skeletal Muscle Contractility

Mentor: Professor Gretchen Meyer

The Meyer lab seeks to understand how tissue cross-talk influences skeletal muscle contraction – in particular adipose-muscle cross-talk.  We hypothesize that adipose secreted cytokines (adipokines) affect the ability of muscle to generate force in an adipose depot-specific manner.  For example, adipokines from visceral adipose may impair contraction in diabetes while adipokines from brown fat improve it.

REU Project:
In the proposed REU project will focus on a specific adipo/myokine, follistatin, and investigate its role in muscle contraction and response to external loading.  The student will perform in-vivo and ex-vivo analyses of muscle contractility, apply precision forces to the muscle to induce remodeling and then assess the adaptive response at the tissue and single cell level.  While the project will be focused on mechanical manipulation and analyses, the student will also gain experience with basic molecular biology techniques such as histology, qPCR and western blotting.