Name: Peter Merrifield

Qualification: v

Country: Canada

Affiliation:

Dept. Anatomy & Cell Biology,
Western University.

Email: Send an Email


Address:

Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology,
Western University,
London, Ontario, Canada,
N6A 5C1.

Research Interests:

  • Skeletal muscle development, or myogenesis, represents an ideal model system for studying cellular processes such as cell migration, cell signaling, cell cycle regulation and cell differentiation.
  • Understanding myogenesis is extremely important, since myoD -/-, myf5 -/- deficient mice which lack normal muscle development die at birth, and mutant mice lacking muscle specific stem cells (or satellite cells) cannot regenerate muscle in response to injury.
  • The objective of my current research program is to elucidate the cell signaling and epigenetic mechanisms which commit muscle precursor cell to specific myogenic lineages and the role of specific myogenic lineages in the development and regeneration of different muscle fibre types.

Biography:

  • I have been studying the cellular basis of skeletal muscle differentiation and the molecular basis for the development of muscle fiber type for over 25 years.
  • Muscle development (or myogenesis), represents an ideal model system for studying cellular processes such as migration, signaling, cell cycle regulation and differentiation in development and disease.
  • The objective of my research program has been to elucidate how these processes commit muscle precursor cell to specific myogenic lineages and the role of specific myogenic lineages in the development and regeneration of different muscle fiber types.
  • I have also explored the role of gap junctional intercellular communication (GJIC) in myogenesis.
  • Recently, I have examined the role of GJIC in Cx43 mutant mice which have compromised GJIC and demonstrated that these mice have defective limb muscles similar to those reported in patients with the genetic disease Oculodentodigitaldysplasia (ODDD).  
  • These studies have been based on a basic knowledge of developmental anatomy, which I share with undergraduate science, dental, graduate and medical students in the classroom environment.
  • Combined, this work will improve our understanding of how normal and diseased muscles adapt, regenerate and age.