In Pictures

Muscles and Metamorphosis: The Molecular Mechanisms of Cell Death

Hawk moths like the one in the palm of UMass Amherst biologist Lawrence Schwartz above exhibit an extraordinary set of muscles and a radical maturation process. Schwartz’s research is revealing that on a cellular level the process bears a striking resemblance to what happens in sarcopenia - the progressive loss of muscle mass and strength associated with aging. The insect experiences 40 percent loss of its muscle mass during the three days before its emergence as an adult moth. Understanding the molecular mechanisms that control muscle atrophy and cell death holds great promise for treating human disease. Schwartz is affiliated with both the Institute for Applied Life Sciences at UMass Amherst and research partner the Pioneer Valley Life Sciences Institute. Learn more

Photo credit: Amanda Drane