Annual Muscle Health Awareness Day a success

York University’s annual Muscle Health Awareness Day attracted more than 130 guests on Friday, May 27 for an event that aims to bring together researchers in the field.

MHAD 1Organized by the Muscle Health Research Centre (MHRC) and Organized Research Unit, the seventh annual event was held in the Life Sciences Building for guests from York University, and other universities and research institutions in Ontario, Quebec and the U.S.

David Hood, director of the MHRC and professor of kinesiology and health science at York University, said “This continues to be a wonderful yearly event that brings together researchers, including faculty members, graduate students, undergraduate students and post-doctoral fellows to discuss the latest research in muscle health and function, and the role exercise and chronic disease can play in modifying muscle health”.

This year, it featured 40 posters presented by undergraduate and graduate students covering a wide variety of muscle- and health-related topics, along with nine presentations, in three separate sessions, from invited researchers.

Amira Klip
Amira Klip

The first session, entitled “Muscle, metabolism, and exercise” featured Amira Klip of the Hospital for Sick Children, who presented recent molecular research about the regulation of blood glucose during exercise. She was followed by Erin Kershaw of the University of Pittsburgh, who presented some recent research regarding the role of fat metabolism within skeletal muscle, and the consequences this has for muscle quality and performance. Lastly, Martin Gibala of McMaster University highlighted some of his research concerning several methods of “interval training” and its implications for various health outcomes.

In the second session, Ren-Ke Li from the Toronto General Research Institute presented “Cardiac muscle and circulation” featuring work from throughout his career regarding the utility of stem cells in the treatment of cardiac disease and their use in the recovery of the heart following heart surgery.

Graham Fraser of the University of Western Ontario then presented some fascinating recent data, highlighting how blood flows through the microcirculatory system in muscle, and how different a variety of internal and external factors can influence this blood flow.

Finally, the third session, entitled “Muscle: growth and repair” featured Jeff Dilworth of the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute presented some recent genetic and molecular research on the role of epigenetics in the regeneration of muscle following injury.

MHAD 2Jim Dowling of the Hospital for Sick Children also showcased recent data regarding drug discovery techniques his lab is highly involved in, and the usefulness this may have for the treatment of rare muscle diseases such as myotubular myopathy. Jane Batt of St. Michael’s Hospital then presented some translational research from human studies she has been involved in, and discussed intensive care unit acquired weakness (ICUAW), a clinical diagnosis which implicates extended hospitals stays in the development of profound muscle weakness and impairment. Lastly, Yan Burelle of the University of Montreal presented novel data about “mitochondria-derived vesicals,” which is a recently identified and unique pathway of communication between compartments within the cells in our body.

Altogether, the event was a success, and the MHRC looks forward to the continued success of this event and the dissemination of exciting and fascinating health research next year.

For more on the Muscle Health Research Centre and its upcoming events, visit