Tyler Kirby



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Skeletal muscle, mechanobiology, nuclear lamina, tissue engineering, time-lapse microscopy

Research interests

Nuclear mechanotransduction in skeletal muscle adaptation and aging

Skeletal muscle has the remarkable ability to adapt to mechanical forces – when we do resistance training our muscles get bigger (hypertrophy), but when we age and reduce our activity, they get smaller (atrophy). While there is clear evidence supporting mechanotransduction pathways that stimulate protein synthesis as being central regulators of muscle mass, there are likely additional mechano-sensitive mechanisms important for controlling functional muscle adaptation.

Our lab is focused on understanding the cellular mechanisms that control muscle adaptation, with a specific focus on the cell nucleus. Previously, it was thought that the nucleus was just a passive organelle, simply responsible for housing our genetic material (DNA). However, in recent years it has been shown that the nucleus can directly respond to mechanical forces, a process termed ‘nuclear mechanotransduction’. The importance of nuclear mechanotransduction in cellular function is evident by the various genetic diseases that arise from mutations in proteins crucial to the transduction cascade.  Intriguingly, these diseases preferentially affect cardiac and skeletal muscle, suggesting that nuclear mechanotransduction is critically important for striated muscle homeostasis. Our research integrates cell biology, bioengineering and whole-animal physiology approaches to study the role that nuclear mechanotransduction plays in skeletal muscle adaptation and aging.  

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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