Therapeutic potential of skeletal muscle plasticity and slow muscle programming for muscular dystrophy
Professor Gordon Lynch
+61 3 8344 0065
Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a devastating, life-limiting, muscle disease that causes progressive, severe muscle wasting in boys and young men. There is no cure.
A potential therapy may come from altering muscle phenotype based on the knowledge that slower, more oxidative muscle fibres are better protected from the dystrophic pathology than faster, more glycolytic muscle fibres.
Muscle plasticity can be achieved through exercise and/or through well described pharmacological approaches such as activation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK).
Physical activity has many beneficial effects on muscle health but unfortunately many patients are simply unable to exercise, especially those with DMD who are usually confined to a wheelchair before their teens.
Modulating muscle activity patterns through low-frequency electrical stimulation (LFS) protocols could mimic the benefits of exercise and promote a slow muscle phenotype.
No studies evaluating the therapeutic merit of LFS protocols have been conducted on the accepted mouse models of DMD nor have they determined whether muscle wasting can be attenuated or reversed. Similarly, no studies have examined the therapeutic merit of LFS in conjunction with AMPK activators.
These studies are essential for enhancing the clinical translation to improve patient quality of life.
This project involves long-standing research collaboration with Professor Gregory Steinberg from Canada’s McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.
Dr Kate Murphy, Senior Research Fellow
Dr James Ryall, Senior Research Fellow
Dr Kristy Swiderski, Senior Research Fellow
Dr Justin Hardee, Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Dr Marissa Caldow, Senior Research Fellow
Audrey Chan, Research Support Officer
Jennifer Trieu, Research Assistant
Timur Naim, Research Assistant
Dylan Chung, Research Support Officer
Alaina Lee, Senior Research Assistant
Suzannah Read, Research Assistant
Savant Thakur, PhD student
Francesca Alves, PhD student
John Nguyen, Masters student
Chloe Li, Masters student
Aundrea Quek, Masters student
Yichen Xue, Honours student
2019-2021 ARC Discovery Project. Mechanisms of age - related changes in amino acid signaling in skeletal muscle
2018-2021 NHMRC Project Grant. Rescuing the Dystrophin-Glycoprotein Complex to protect muscles from wasting conditions
2018-2020 Duchenne Parent Project. Evaluating a sulforaphane-based nutraceutical to alleviate gastrointestinal dysfunction in DMD
2017-2020 NHMRC Project Grant. Therapeutic potential of skeletal muscle plasticity and slow muscle programming for muscular dystrophy
2017-2020 NHMRC Project Grant. A simple method to improve stem cell transplant therapy
2017-2019 Cancer Council Victoria. Using novel Fn14 inhibitory antibodies to treat cardiac cachexia in cancer
2015-2019 ARC Discovery Project. Understanding the cellular cues that direct muscle stem cell specification
This research project is available to PhD, Masters by Research, Honours, Master of Biomedical Science, Post Doctor Research students to join as part of their thesis.
Please contact the Research Group Leader to discuss your options.
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