SICB Annual Meeting 2018
January 3-7, 2018
San Francisco, CA

Symposium: Spatial Scale and Structural Heterogeneity in Skeletal Muscle Performance

Biological movement is an inherently dynamic system driven by a complex and multi-scaled, highly structured tissue: muscle. Classic muscle physiology has resulted in a wonderfully detailed understanding of muscle performance at very specific spatial levels and under narrow conditions. However, we understand far less about how the extensive heterogeneity of muscles across spatial scales contributes to performance under the more dynamic conditions relevant to animal movement.

Here we aim to bring together a new wave of muscle experiments, which seek to address the contributions of both spatial heterogeneity and local physical state across multiple scales to muscle performance. These experiments may call into question the long-held assumptions of muscle homogeneity spatially (e.g. along the length of single myofibrils or in the deformation of whole muscle against the constraints of connective tissue), in activation (e.g. in the selective recruitment of fibers of different sizes), or energetically (e.g. in the variability of work production during impulsively loaded terrestrial locomotion). We hope that by bringing together this collection of work, we will better understand both the physiologically performance of muscle and the micro-scale properties of actin and myosin interactions.

Sponsors: DCB & DVM


  • David Williams
  • Natalie Holt


Dave Williams and Natalie Holt
Structural determinants of the force-length relationship in skeletal muscle

Joe Powers
The role of thick filament mechanosensing in modulating shortening velocity

Mike Regnier and Nathan Sniadecki
Multi-scale platforms to study the structure and function of cardiomyocytes derived from human pluripotent stem cells

Kiisa Nishikawa and Mike DuVall
A role for titin in active muscle

James Wakeling and Nilima Nigam
Dynamics of whole muscle contractions: the effect of structure, size and activation on muscle performance

Huub Mass and Chris Tijs
Heterogeneity within and across muscles caused by myofascial loads

Tom Roberts and Carolyn Eng
The battle of the bulge: structural determinants of muscle gearing during dynamic contractions

Joe Thompson and Kari Taylor
Structure and shape affect obliquely striated muscle functions in squid.

Anna Ahn and Andy Biewener
In vivo length changes in relation to intrinsic physiological properties in vertebrate skeletal muscles

Greg Sawicki and Simon Spondberg
Perturbing the muscle work loop paradigm to understand the neuromechanics of unsteady movement