Guangyu Xu Receives NSF Grant to Probe Muscle Contraction/Regeneration at the Subcellular Level

The capability could inform the future of regenerative medicine, physical therapy and kinesiology

Guangyu Xu, the Dev and Linda Gupta Endowed Assistant Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering at UMass Amherst, has received a $359,998 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop two high-density integrated optoelectronic arrays to probe muscle contraction and regeneration processes at subcellular resolution. The work could inform efforts to develop therapeutics targeted to muscle recovery, as well as affect the future of regenerative medicine, physical therapy and kinesiology.

NEWS Guangyu Xu
Guangyu Xu

Xu is principal investigator of the three-year research project “Subcellular interrogation of muscle dynamics with integrated optoelectronic arrays.” He and his team aim to lay the groundwork of optoelectronic muscle interfacing that can precisely modulate and capture calcium dynamics in muscle.

To achieve this, they will build arrays with scalable fabrication processes to offer bi-directional optogenetic control and on-chip fluorescence recording of intracellular signals.

“In the long term,” says Xu, “both arrays can be built along a shank structure to ultimately offer access to deep muscle tissue.” These new muscle-interfacing tools and assays will provide a better understanding of the mechanisms of muscle physiology, which in the long term will offer “a possible platform to develop therapeutics targeted to muscle recovery,” he added.

Other goals of the project are to educate underrepresented undergraduate and graduate researchers to join the nation’s biotechnology and healthcare workforce and promote muscle science and technology among local senior citizens and support groups for muscle diseases.

Xu heads the Integrated Nanobiotechnology Laboratory. Last spring he received a $500,000 NSF grant from its prestigious Early Career Development Program for work to establish two lab-on-a-chip technologies that will ultimately lead to enabling tools in next-generation precision therapeutics.