Muscoskeletal physiology, injury and disease


We aim to understand the role of cellular signalling, biochemical interactions and pathophysiology of muscle, tendon and bone in processes of injury, disease and regeneration.

The study of Musculoskeletal Physiology, Injury and Disease comprises a deep understanding of not only the constituent components – muscle, tendon and bone – but also how these tissues interact in the body. Using advanced animal (mouse, rat and zebrafish) models, as well as numerous biochemical approaches such as

  • cell culture
  • genetic transfection
  • pharmacological analyses
  • western blotting, and
  • PCR.

Groups within this theme aim to uncover the critical molecular and biochemical pathways that underpin musculoskeletal physiology. Understanding normal physiology is critical to understand disease states – such as degenerative or developmental defects – as well as what happens during injury.

A key driver of our research to improve the quality of life for the millions of people affected by musculoskeletal pathologies require an understanding how the muscle, tendon and bone undergo regeneration and repair, and targeting these cellular pathways to improve functional outcomes.

Research groups

Anthropometry and impact biomechanics

Group leader: Dr. Richard Fernandez
Our research has concentrated on hip fracture prevention, particularly the role of the gluteal muscles as an energy absorption medium when using energy shunting type hip protectors.

Cellular injury and regeneration

Group leaders: Dr. Caroline Taylor and Dr. Jarrod Church
We are focused on understanding the molecular pathways involved in tissue injury and repair/regeneration in a number of organs including brain, bone and skeletal muscle.

Fetal programming of adult disease

Group leader: Dr. Tania Romano
Being born small (approx. 10% of all births) is a large problem in Western society, and studies have shown that these individuals have an increased risk of developing a number of adult diseases.

Skeletal and cardiac muscles

Group leader: Dr. Giuseppe Posterino
We are focused on understanding the fundamental basis of muscle contraction across a wide array of muscle types (skeletal, cardiac and smooth).

Developmental genetics

Group leader: Dr. Seb Dworkin
We are focused on the genetic mechanisms which underpin the earliest stages of embryonic development.

Skeletal muscle biology and function

Group leader: Dr. Chris van der Poel
We are focused on functional properties of skeletal muscle in response to physiological stressors such as exercise, injury and disease.

Tendon biology

Group leader: Dr. Tom Samiric
We are committed to expanding our molecular understanding of the complex biology of tendons and its interaction with other musculoskeletal structures.