Amy Brown

The role of the stress kinase MLTK7 in muscle disease

About me

My interest in skeletal muscle biology first revealed itself while I was in my fourth year of university studying for a Masters in Biological Sciences (Biochemistry) at the University of Liverpool. My supervisor there cultivated my desire to learn and introduced me to the field of muscle biology, which ultimately became my passion. As a result of this, I was able to find a niche PhD project which was well suited to my field of expertise and also allowed me to follow my passion. Upon graduation in 2018, I joined the University of York and began my PhD.

My project

Currently, my research is primarily focussed on identifying the components of skeletal muscle that regulate muscle homeostasis and muscle regeneration following damage. Ultimately, by understanding how these processes are regulated, we can use this knowledge to better the lives of people who suffer from loss of muscle during ageing, disease and immobilisation. My previous work at the University of Liverpool explored how components of the extracellular matrix regulate the activity of muscle stem cells (termed Satellite cells). Since joining the University of York, I have been able to explore another area of skeletal muscle regeneration – the function of proteins within the muscle fibre itself.

My project is specifically targeting ZAKβ, a sarcomeric MAP3K signalling protein. The loss of function of this protein has been implicated in a congenital myopathy observed in both humans and mice. My primary aim is to better understand the role of ZAKβ in skeletal muscle regulation by identifying and validating its upstream activators and downstream effectors using a phosphoproteomics approach. My secondary aim is to understand fundamentally how ZAKβ functions in skeletal muscle by using immunohistochemistry and immunofluorescence staining of skeletal muscle biopsies. As a result of this, I hope to uncover novel pharmacological targets of this pathway that can be used to improve the lives of those who suffer from disorders that result in loss of skeletal muscle.


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