Making Muscle Mighty

“Mark is a molecular cell biologist and his research interests are in the basic sciences of musculoskeletal regeneration and repair. Skeletal muscle (SkM) represents the major focus of activities although the group also works with the tissues that SkM interfaces with – that is bone, tendon, neural systems. The research takes a primarily in vitro approach to this and has, over the years, moved from conventional 2D (cells grown on planar plastic) culture to 3D cultures. In order to develop these bioengineered systems, the research has been heavily involved in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine since its beginnings in the early 2000s (the majority of the work is in the MSK area with some interests in other systems). 3D skeletal muscle constructs provide a test bed for physiological and pathophysiological experimentation in a controlled environment whilst better recapitulating native skeletal muscle architecture than conventional in vitro culture techniques; the constructs can be mechanically and electrically stimulated as well as co-cultured with various “interface cells”. I shall discuss the background to this work and how it is being used in a variety of contexts including to study pathogenic mechanisms and potential treatments for muscle atrophy associated with osteoarthritis.”