Characterising the pathways responsible for ICU-acquired weakness

Project Details

Muscle wasting is the most common complication of critical illness, occurring in 25-50% of patients. The extent of wasting is determined by the severity of organ failure and lung injury, however, a loss of 20-30% of muscle mass over the first 10 days in ICU is not uncommon. ICU patients generally have increased muscle protein breakdown relative to muscle protein synthesis, leading to a net catabolic state and rapid loss of muscle mass and function. To allow the development of novel and effective treatments to attenuate muscle wasting in ICU patients it is important to identify the signalling pathways and proteins that drive this catabolic state.

This project uses animal-based experiments and analyses of muscle biopsies from ICU patients to comprehensively test these mechanisms. Findings from this project will enhance our knowledge about the regulation of skeletal muscle mass during critical illness and will aid in the further development of treatment strategies.


A/Prof René Koopman, Head of Laboratory

Dr Marissa Caldow, Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Opportunities

This research project is available to PhD students, Masters by Research, Honours students, Master of Biomedical Science, Post Doctor Researchers to join as part of their thesis.
Please contact the Research Group Leader to discuss your options.

Research Group

Koopman laboratory: Clinical nutrition and muscle metabolism

School Research Themes

Molecular Mechanisms of Disease, Cancer in Biomedicine, Therapeutics & Translation, Cell Signalling

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact the research group leader.

Department / Centre

Anatomy and Physiology

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