ME Seminar on "Uncovering the mysteries of skeletal muscle: from experiments to models to hypotheses to experiments"


Monday, February 25, 2013 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm


ESB 1001


Prof. Silvia Salinas Blemker, Biomedical Engineering, Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, and Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Virginia

Abstract:  Skeletal muscles are extraordinarily adapted motors that provide the actuation for a wide spectrum of functions ranging from, for example, gait to respiration to speech.   How is each muscle’s structure adapted to perform its specialized function in the human body?  How can a maladapted muscle be restored to perform its specific function?  Answering these questions will have important implications on our ability to develop improved treatments for many clinical problems ranging from, for example, movement disorders to speech impairments.  The goal of Multi-scale Muscle Mechanics (“M3”) Lab’s research is to use multi-scale computational and experimental approaches to elicit and test new hypotheses regarding skeletal muscle form, mechanics, function, and dysfunction.  In this presentation, I will describe these approaches, present some recent examples of model-generated hypotheses (and tests thereof), and summarize past, present, and future applications ranging from the prevention of muscle injury to improving outcomes of surgeries to correct speech impairments.

Bio:  Silvia Salinas Blemker joined the UVA faculty in January of 2006.  She obtained her B.S. and M.S. degrees in Biomedical Engineering from Northwestern University and her Ph.D. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University. Before joining the faculty at UVa, Dr. Blemker worked as a post-doctoral Research Associate at Stanford University’s National Center for Biomedical Computation.  At UVA, she now leads the Multi-scale Muscle Mechanics Lab (“M3 Lab”) in BME.  The M3 lab group integrates a variety of computational and experimental techniques study muscle form, function, and biology, and they are currently applying these findings to variety of areas, such as to improving the treatments for musculoskeletal impairments and to understanding the mechanisms underlying skeletal muscle injury.  The M3 lab’s research is funded by the NIH, NSF, DARPA/DOD, the UVA-Coulter Translational Research Partnership, and the Hartwell Foundation.

Host:  Prof. Matthew Begley

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