New muscle research center opens in San Diego

By Heather Buschman, Ph.D.
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The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently awarded a new grant to establish the San Diego Skeletal Muscle Research Center. This new center, led by UC San Diego’s Rick Lieber, Ph.D., Sanford-Burnham’s Mark Mercola, Ph.D., and The Scripps Research Institute’s Velia Fowler, Ph.D., will allow 21 scientists at five different research institutions to combine their expertise and state-of-the-art methods to accelerate  research that advances our understanding of skeletal muscles and the diseases that affect them.

“The new grant will support collaborative, multi-institutional research into muscle diseases, taking advantage of the unique resources of the San Diego muscle biology community. Our focus will be to understand how to regenerate muscle and limit the formation of fibrous and scar tissue within muscle that compromises function in diseases such as muscular dystrophy and chronic heart failure,” Mercola said.

The San Diego Skeletal Muscle Research Center will pool the resources of these scientists and their institutions into three “core” facilities (Phenotyping, High-Throughput Cell Analysis, and Imaging) directed by an administrative core. The High-Throughput Cell Analysis part of the project will be performed at Sanford-Burnham and led by Lorenzo Puri, M.D., Ph.D. and Alessandra Sacco, Ph.D.

According to a statement released by UC San Diego, which included comments from Leiber:

By bringing together these advanced techniques in the three cores, “no scientist has to ‘reinvent the wheel’ to perform the sophisticated analyses [required in skeletal muscle research].” Such accessibility “will undoubtedly spawn new ideas that accompany the experimental data.” As a result, researchers will be able to greatly enhance our understanding of muscles and muscle diseases.

Click here to read more about muscle development and regeneration research at Sanford-Burnham.

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Heather Buschman, Ph.D.

Heather was a Sanford-Burnham Communications staff member.

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