This program provides interdisciplinary training in muscle biology for predoctoral and postdoctoral students. The structure, function, and development and plasticity of skeletal, cardiac and smooth muscle will be considered on the molecular, subcellular, cellular, tissue and organ levels. Our 16 faculty members come from 4 basic science departments,
in the School of Medicine, University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) and from the Department of Mechanical Engineering in the College of Engineering at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC).
Our students enroll in the PhD program of one of these departments or in the Program in Molecular and Cell Biology, University of Maryland at Baltimore. Reflecting the diversity of faculty backgrounds, the training offered ranges from the molecular biological determinants of muscle development and molecular aspects of structure and function of muscle proteins through cell biological aspects of muscle cytoskeleton and matrix, biophysical and physiological analysis of individual muscle cell function, and biomechanical properties of whole muscles and muscular organs. Our faculty is nationally and internationally recognized in the areas of calcium control of muscle function and muscle cytoskeleton and matrix. Our students will receive training in these and in a variety of related areas, including the molecular biology of muscle and the application of molecular biological and digital imaging techniques to basic questions in muscle biology, with emphasis on the use of several complimentary techniques to approach each question under investigation. The major didactic aspect of the predoctoral training is an interdisciplinary course on muscle which is regularly offered by the program faculty, which has been well received by past student groups and which provides in depth consideration of all aspects of muscle biology.
State of the art facilities are available for molecular biological, biochemical, cell biological, structural, biophysical, physiological and developmental studies of muscle cells and their components. Application and development of new digital imaging microscopic techniques, including laser scanning confocal methods, and computer analysis of digital images is a common strength of many of our program laboratories.