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Mark Miller

My main focus is on translational research, or applying basic research findings to improve human health, and I use both human and model systems in this work. My research goal is to understand how structural and functional alterations at the molecular and single fiber levels affect whole skeletal muscle contraction and whole body function, primarily to find potential countermeasures to the loss of skeletal muscle performance under a variety of conditions, including aging, obesity, fatigue and illness (influenza). An important aspect of my research is the ability to measure the fundamental molecular determinants of contractile function, such as myosin-actin cross-bridge kinetics. By identifying the specific molecular mechanisms that lead to alterations in whole muscle function, my findings will impact clinical care by providing novel information about the treatment of conditions that reduce skeletal muscle performance. Treatments include various exercise training programs and/or pharmaceuticals, which may need to be sex-specific based upon my previous work in older adults. 

Current Research

Current ongoing research projects in the Muscle Biology Laboratory focus on adaptations in skeletal muscle structure and function from the molecular to whole body levels in response to: 
1) resistance and power training in older adults
2) skeletal muscle fatigue in older adults
3) fat infiltration in young and older adults
4) influenza (flu) in model systems
In addition, the laboratory examines basic research questions, such as how do different fiber types respond to stretch in order to help us better understand our translational work.

Learn more at https://blogs.umass.edu/markmiller/

Academic Background

  • B.S., University of Colorado
  • M.S., University of Colorado
  • Ph.D., University of Vermont
  • Post-Doctoral Fellowship, University of Vermont
Straight CR, Ringham OR, Bartley JM, Keilich SR, Kuchel GA, Haynes L, Miller MS. Influenza infection has fiber type-specific effects on cellular and molecular skeletal muscle function in aged mice. Journal of Gerontology, Biological Sciences, 2020.
Straight CR, Voigt, TB, Jala AV, Chase JD, Ringham OR, Ades PA, Toth MJ, Miller MS. Quadriceps lipid content has sex-specific associations with whole-muscle, cellular and molecular contractile function in older adults. Journal of Gerontology, Biological Sciences 74(12), 1879-1886, 2019. PMCID: PMC6853688
Straight CR, Bell KM, Slosberg JN, Miller MS, Swank DM. A myosin-based mechanism for stretch activation and its possible role revealed by varying phosphate concentration in fast and slow mouse skeletal muscle fibers. American Journal of Physiology-Cell Physiology 317(6):C1143-C1152, 2019. PMCID: PMC6957385
Straight CR, Ades PA, Toth MJ, Miller MS. Age-related reduction in single muscle fiber calcium sensitivity is associated with decreased muscle power in men and women. Experimental Gerontology 102, 84-92, 2018. PMCID: PMC6411279
Miller MS, Callahan DM, Tourville TW, Slauterbeck JR, Savage PD, Ades PA, Beynnon BD, Toth MJ. Moderate-intensity resistance exercise alters skeletal muscle molecular and cellular structure and function in inactive, older adults with knee osteoarthritis. Journal of Applied Physiology 122(4), 775-787, 2017. PMCID: PMC5407204
Contact Info

106 Totman Building

30 Eastman Lane
Amherst, MA 01003-9292

Office: (413) 800-2177
Email: markmiller@umass.edu
Web: https://blogs.umass.edu/markmiller/