The Pennsylvania Muscle Institute is an interdisciplinary group of research investigators. Our goal is to discover the the mechanisms of muscle function, muscle disease and motile biological systems through innovative and cross-disciplinary research, and to apply these discoveries to new therapies.
We aim to develop state-of-the art technologies for the study of muscle and motile systems, while providing education and training in muscle biology and motility to scientists, physicians, and students.
Research is conducted using biophysics, biochemistry, genetics, physiology and ultrastructure to understand: cell migration and intracellular transport; molecular motors; cell division; muscle contraction and development; muscle pathologies and therapies targeted to muscle disease.
The PMI is prominent in technological and methodological development for these investigations especially in advanced light microscopy, structural spectroscopy, nanotechnology, biochemical kinetics, image processing, molecular biology, and viral gene targeting.
Optical tweezers microscopes for the measurement of nanometer-scale displacements and picoNewton-scale forces are available to Penn laboratories. These instruments are used for measuring biological forces (e.g., cell adhesion forces, protein-protein interactions, protein conformational changes, and other macromolecular associations) and manipulating objects in vitro and in the cytoplasm of live cells.