Muscle Physiology Lab

The Muscle Physiology Laboratory is a research laboratory investigating skeletal muscle morphology.

The skeletal muscle properties vary depending on genetics and types and amount of activities as well as affected by diseases and drugs.  A piece of skeletal muscle is sampled, frozen, sliced in very thin (6 mm thickness), and stained with chemicals. Under a light microscope, a stained muscle sample is analyzed for:

  • Size (diameter)
  • Types of muscle (slow, fast, or hybrid)
  • Abnormalities in shape or contents
  • Adult stem cell activity
  • Capillary density, and
  • Damage.

These properties can be changed by 8 weeks of training. We study healthy human skeletal muscle from volunteer participants, as well as tissue from rats and mice.

Currently, the lab is looking into the muscle damage related to cholesterol-lowering medicine (statin) in humans, and the muscle size and type changes by simulated microgravity (for space flight to Mars) using rats.

The Muscle Physiology Laboratory is under the direction of Dr. Kumika Toma. For more information on her research, contact or call 304-696 – 2651.