Muscle Health Awareness Day takes 11th annual conference online

A depiction of myofibrils, any of the elongated contractile threads found in striated muscle cells

For the first time, the Muscle Health Research Centre (MHRC) at York University hosted its 11th annual Muscle Health Awareness Day (MHAD11) online via Zoom. This conference, which took place May 22, featured invited speakers from Canada and the U.S., and was organized by MHRC Director David Hood and Louise Solomon, centre coordinator.

The event attracted 172 registrants and featured eight speakers, as well as 62 abstract submissions, from which eight  trainee awards were jury-selected for oral presentations. The 30-minute presentations featured research on muscle, heart, cardiovascular control and mitochondria, the powerhouse of the cell.

Galouzzi MHAD11
Imed Galouzzi during the MHAD11 conference

Imed Gallouzi (biochemistry, McGill University) spoke about the role of mRNA stability in affecting muscle structure and function, while Scot Kimball (physiology, Penn State University) discussed the signaling pathways and mechanisms through which amino acids regulate muscle protein synthesis. From the University of Michigan, Jacob Haus described novel protein modifications that contribute to diabetic complications in muscle, while Sunita Mathur (physical therapy, University of Toronto) described her work on skeletal muscle physiological assessment techniques aimed at improving the health of people suffering from profound muscle atrophy and weakness. Kimberly Dunham-Snary, (medicine, Queen’s University) shared her studies of mitochondrial biology, specifically, how genetic and structural changes to mitochondria alter cell function.

Hughson MHAD11
Richard Hughson presenting during MHAD11
Sherry Grace
Sherry Grace

Sherry Grace (kinesiology and health science, York University) began a discussion on the cardiovascular system by highlighting the importance of knowledge translation as applied to cardiac rehabilitation programs for individuals post-heart attack. Philip Millar (human health and nutritional sciences, University of Guelph) described his understanding of the mechanisms that regulate the sympathetic control of blood flow and blood pressure at rest and during exercise. Finally, Richard Hughson (kinesiology, University of Waterloo) provided a compelling story about how astronauts regulate their cardiovascular systems during exercise while travelling in the microgravity conditions within the International Space Station.

Between faculty presentations, industry representatives from Nikon (Sally Miller) and Beckman Coulter (Natalia Ferdianina) shared images and knowledge regarding their most recent microscope and flow cytometry instrumentation.

The event ran with the help of York’s Learning and Technology Services crew of Grant McNair and Bert Imai, and organizers expressed thanks to MHRC members Professors Ali Abdul-Sater, Arthur Cheng, Heather Edgell and graduate student Heather Johnston who chaired the scientific sessions seamlessly.

The event was sponsored by the Faculty of Health and benefitted also from industry support for the sponsoring of student awards.

For a list of student award winners, and for more information on the event, visit