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Student research project

Supervisor(s): Associate Professor Brian Drew

Project summary

Skeletal muscle makes up a major proportion of our body mass. Because of its high metabolic activity, it also requires a large amount of energy so it can perform important roles such as locomotion, keeping our lungs functioning and aiding in our vascular system working efficiently. Consequently, skeletal muscle consumes about 80% of the glucose from our blood following a meal, and plays an important role in maintaining a healthy energy balance.

Given these important roles of skeletal muscle, it comes as no surprise that diseases or conditions that negatively impact on skeletal muscle, can have major consequences on our health and longevity. Indeed, genetic conditions that impact on muscle strength and activity can lead to muscular dystrophies, whilst in born errors of metabolism can cause severe muscular dysfunction, metabolic disease and early death. However, the genes that cause these diseases are not well described, nor is the reason for why these diseases range from mild inconveniences to life threatening conditions of the young. Thus, studies aimed at understanding the genes and progression of these conditions are paramount in working towards treatments and cures.

This project will use a range of molecular biology, genetic, pharmacological and bioinformatics techniques to study muscle conditions in preclinical models. The main aim of these studies is to understand the genes that cause these muscle defects, and to study their impact on chronic disease progression.

This project is suitable for a MasterHonours or PhD student.

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With the rising number of Australians affected by diabetes, heart disease and stroke, the need for research is more critical than ever.

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