Which are the signals regulating adult skeletal muscle growth and function?
How are these signals regulated by exercise?

Adult skeletal muscle is an extremely plastic tissue, rapidly modifying its size and function responding to changes in demands. In the lab we are focusing our attention on the intracellular signaling pathways regulating increases in both mass and function of adult skeletal muscle. Considering the significant problems which arise during aging, disuse and numerous other pathologies like cancer cachexia, leading to muscle atrophy and weakness, together with the well-established beneficial effect of exercise, it is of fundamental importance to understand which pathways regulate muscle function and how these can be linked to exercise.

In the last 20 years the intra-and extracellular pathways regulating adult skeletal muscle mass are starting to be unravelled. Despite a significant increase in the knowledge regarding intracellular mediators of muscle growth, currently no drugs exist to counteract muscle wasting. More importantly, in numerous pathologies the drop in muscle force production or its resistance to fatigue is more pronounced and precedes the loss in muscle mass. Despite its importance, the signaling pathways stimulating muscle function are only now starting to be unravelled. The Blaauw lab has increased the understanding of how the Akt-mTOR pathway, a critical regulator of adult skeletal muscle mass, can also modulate muscle contractile properties. We are currently trying to understand how this pathway can regulate muscle function and how it is affecting muscle remodelling after exercise. Furthermore, we are investigating how its dysregulation in various diseases, like cancer and aging, affects muscle performance.

BERT BLAAUW

  • PhD; Neurobiology, University of Padova, Italy (2008)
  • Postdoc: Venetian Institute of Molecular Medicine (VIMM), Padova, Italy (2008 – 2011)
  • Assistant Professor: Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Padova, Italy (2011 – 2016)
  • Group leader: Venetian Institute of Molecular Medicine (VIMM), Padova, Italy (since 2012)
  • Associate Professor: Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Padova, Italy (since 2016)

Selected Awards

  • 2014 – Young Italian Physiologist of the year