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Research Summary

 

Muscle wasting is a widespread health problem characterized by weakness, fatigue, glucose intolerance, and an inability to tolerate medicines to treat illness.  There has been a pressing need to understand the biology underlying this process. Our laboratory uses cellular and molecular approaches to better understand the pathways that mediate protein loss associated with skeletal muscle wasting. Studies are geared towards identifying genes that are necessary or sufficient for the induction and progression of skeletal muscle atrophy in conditions such as muscular disuse and cancer-induced muscle wasting.  Recently we have adapted a new technology called "ChIP-sequencing" (chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by next generation sequencing) to skeletal muscle in order to identify on a genome-wide level, the genes responsible for muscle wasting due to muscular inactivity.  The networks of genes we identified using ChIP-sequencing show how inactivity leads to muscle weakness and the insulin resistance that foreshadow type II diabetes.  These findings, using a cutting edge technology, identify genes regulating skeletal muscle wasting that years of traditional methods have failed to discover.