The main focus area of this committee is addressing Muscle Wasting, i.e muscle atrophy or sarcopenia.
Muscle wasting, an inevitable part of aging, is a chronic process resulting with loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength that occurs at varying kinetics of time and severity based on personalized medical conditions. It is a leading global public health concern with high impact on economic cost and quality of life: seniors at ages 65+ years currently compromise almost 15% of the US population and it is projected to grow in numbers at a rate of 56% to reach 2 billion globally by year 2050. Muscle wasting is also a critical concern for national security and the US military where mobilization and physical fitness is the essence for the recovery of a wounded warrior.
In addition, muscle wasting is also observed in populations with diabetes, cancer patients, and persons who have had heart conditions due to the decreased use of muscles. Currently, the treatment is confined to supportive measures including regular exercise and nutrition to slow or reverse the muscle atrophy, but these measures may offer limited help. Particularly in geriatric population, it is most rewarding if the onset of muscle atrophy is prolonged or delayed. Skeletal muscle tissue constitutes almost 50% of the total body weight. The committee will also focus on the interfacing of hybrid prosthetics for replacing lost musculoskeletal tissue by utilizing synthetic materials, robotics and automation such as emerging soft robotics, wearable robotic devices that may provide equal or enhances functional outcomes for improvement of physical capabilities as well as psychological well-being.
A fundamental aspect of muscle tissue formation and repair is the cell fusion and re-organization of the cytoskeleton and subcellular components. In this committee, we will address the challenges associated with examining biophysical phenomena involved in cellular and subcellular component fusion and fission and their roles in modulation of molecular pathways that may eventually leading to muscle wasting, which will be then compared to cytoskeleton and sub cellular components reorganization and modulation of molecular pathways involved in muscle wasting under microgravity environment. The goal is to establish personalized tissue engineering strategies to address muscle wasting.
Causes of Muscle Wasting
Overarching Challenges in Muscle Engineering
Fundamental challenges remain in understanding the basic cellular and sub-cellular phenomenon that occur during muscle wasting. Knowledge of these phenomenon is required prior to being able to accurately engineer new muscles or muscle tissues for patients in need. These challenges include:
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