Skeletal Muscle Dysfunction Laboratory
Skeletal muscle plays an essential role in locomotion, respiration, and metabolism. Unfortunately, declines in skeletal muscle function and repair are undesirable consequences of aging and disease. Our laboratory combines molecular biology and electrophysiological technologies to assess both skeletal muscle and mitochondrial physiology in vivo and in vitro.
By using various animal models that represent important human conditions, we are able to investigate the molecular and physiological mechanisms of skeletal muscle dysfunction. Our long-term goal is to advance individual and societal health and well-being by developing targeted therapeutic modalities to improve muscle function and repair after injury.
This lab is also affiliated with the Regenerative Bioscience Center .
We are located in the academic wing of the Ramsey Student Center.
This collaborative project, awarded with Sarah Greising
at the University of Minnesota, investigates rehabilitation approaches to improve the function and quality of the remaining muscle after injury. Research will explore if physical inactivity contributes to long-term dysfunction after volumetric muscle loss injury.
Funding source: Alliance for Regenerative Rehabilitation Research and Training, Department of Defense (2016–)
- The impact of volumetric muscle loss injury on persistent motoneuron axotomy
- Early rehabilitation for volumetric muscle loss injury augments endogenous regenerative aspects of muscle strength and oxidative capacity
- PGC-1α overexpression partially rescues impaired oxidative and contractile pathophysiology following volumetric muscle loss injury
This project with Hang Yin (University of Georgia) investigates the role of hypoxia-inducible factors in satellite cell dynamics. A project with Aaron Beedle (SUNY Binghamton) investigates mTOR-targeted therapies for muscular dystrophy.
Funding source: National Institutes of Health (to Yin H), Muscular Dystrophy Association (to Beedle AM) (2014-)
This project investigates the extent to which autophagy is sufficient and necessary for skeletal muscle adaptation to exercise and regeneration following trauma. (2014-)
- Mitochondrial maintenance via autophagy contributes to functional skeletal muscle regeneration and remodeling
- Ulk1-mediated autophagy plays an essential role in mitochondrial remodeling and functional regeneration of skeletal muscle
- Exercise leads to unfavourable cardiac remodelling and enhanced metabolic homeostasis in obese mice with cardiac and skeletal muscle autophagy deficiency
- Skeletal muscle metabolic adaptations to endurance exercise training are attainable in mice with simvastatin treatment
This highly collaborative project investigates determinants of skeletal muscle and brown adipose tissue mitochondrial function with regards to molecular signaling pathways and the structure of the mitochondrial network. Collaborations include: Luke Mortensen , Kayvan Tehrani, Khalid Salaita , Hang Yin .
Funding source: Center for Regenerative Engineering & Medicine Seed Grant Program (2017-)
- Five-dimensional two-photon volumetric microscopy of in-vivo dynamic activities using liquid lens remote focusing
- Skeletal muscle metabolic adaptations to endurance exercise training are attainable in mice with simvastatin treatment
- Two-photon deep-tissue spatially resolved mitochondrial imaging using membrane potential fluorescence fluctuations
Our Lab Team
Assistant professor and lab director
UGA PREP Scholar, B.S. Biology Clark Atlanta University
Regenerative Bioscience Center Undergraduate Fellow (Honors biology)
Regenerative Bioscience Center Research Fellow, UGA undergraduate, Animal Dairy Science
Regenerative Bioscience Center Undergraduate Research Fellow, UGA undergraduate, Marine Biology
B.S., University of Puerto Rico; M.S., Georgia State University, Graduate Student in Physiology and Pharmacology
Regenerative Bioscience Center Undergraduate Fellow (biology)
B.S., Valdosta State University, Graduate Student in Kinesiology
B.S., Central Connecticut State University, Graduate Student in Kinesiology
Former Lab Members
Dissertation: Muscle Oxidative Capacity and Plasticity After Volumetric Muscle Loss: Implications for Regenerative Rehabilitation
- Dissertation Completion Award (UGA Graduate School)
- Caroline tum Suden/Frances Hellebrandt Professional Opportunity Award (American Physiological Society)
- Travel Award (Alliance for Regenerative Rehabilitation Research & Training)
- 2nd Place Poster (Symposium on Regenerative Rehabilitation, 2016 College of Education Research Conference)
Current position: Postdoc, University of Minnesota, Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, & Biophysics
- Muscles struggle to ever fully recover after losing tissue, study finds
The overall effects of muscle damage could have implications on physical therapy strategies and long-term health.
- Kinesiology researcher receives UGA's 1st Churchill Scholarship
The award funds American students as they pursue a one-year master's program in science, mathematics and engineering at the University of Cambridge in England.
- A belief in 'grit over wit'
UGA Amazing Student Anita Qualls is working toward a career in academic medicine. Along the way, she has played a key role in the Skeletal Muscle Dysfunction Lab in the College of Education, directed by assistant professor Jarrod A. Call.
Southern, WM, Nichenko AS, Tehrani KF, McGranahan MJ, Krishnan L, Qualls AE, Jenkins NT, Mortensen LJ, Yin H, Yin A, Guldberg RE, Greising SM, Call JA. PGC-1α overexpression partially rescues impaired oxidative and contractile pathophysiology following volumetric muscle loss injury . Scientific Reports 2019; 9(1):4079.
Southern WM, Nichenko AS, Shill DD, Spencer CC, Jenkins NT, McCully KK, Call JA. Skeletal muscle metabolic adaptations to endurance exercise training are attainable in mice with simvastatin treatment . PloS one. 2017; 12(2):e0172551.
Warren GL, Call JA, Farthing AK, Baadom-Piaro B. Minimal Evidence for a Secondary Loss of Strength After an Acute Muscle Injury: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis . Sports medicine (Auckland, N.Z.). 2017; 47(1):41-59.
Nichenko AS, Southern WM, Atuan M, Luan J, Peissig KB, Foltz SJ, Beedle AM, Warren GL, Call JA. Mitochondrial maintenance via autophagy contributes to functional skeletal muscle regeneration and remodeling . American journal of physiology. Cell physiology. 2016; 311(2):C190-200.
Foltz SJ, Luan J, Call JA, Patel A, Peissig KB, Fortunato MJ, Beedle AM. Four-week rapamycin treatment improves muscular dystrophy in a fukutin-deficient mouse model of dystroglycanopathy . Skeletal muscle. 2016; 6:20.
Call JA, Lowe DA. Eccentric Contraction-Induced Muscle Injury: Reproducible, Quantitative, Physiological Models to Impair Skeletal Muscle’s Capacity to Generate Force . Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.). 2016; 1460:3-18.
Full Publication Details
April: Anna Nichenko awarded the Dissertation Completion Award from the University of Georgia Graduate School.
March: Call spoke at the Regenerate Medicine Workshop at Charleston on “PGC1α1 Activation is Necessary and Sufficient for Endurance Exercise-induced Oxidative Plasticity in the Remaining Muscle after Volumetric Muscle Loss Injury.”
February: Michael Southern, Anna Nichenko, Anita Qualls, and Call published a paper with Sarah Greising , Luke Mortensen , and Hang Yin in Scientific Reports on metabolic implications of volumetric muscle loss injury.
November: Jarrod Call published a paper with Rebecca Wilson and Zhen Yan in the Journal of Applied Physiology on neuromuscular dysfunction following ischemia-reperfusion injury.
August: Call spoke at the Military Health Systems Research Symposium on “Exploring metabolic plasticity of the remaining muscle after volumetric muscle loss injury as a means to preserve and/or improve functional capacity and regeneration”; the Journal of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine selected a figure from a recent paper published by Call for the cover image.
May: Nichenko was awarded top abstract at the World Congress on The Basic Science of Muscle Hypertrophy and Atrophy as part of the annual American College of Sports Medicine conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Also in May, Call spoke at the American College of Sports Medicine annual meeting on “Autophagy and skeletal muscle regeneration”; Anna Nichenko, Michael Southern, Anita Qualls, and Call published a paper with Sarah Greising , Gordon Warren , and Benjamin Corona in BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders on early rehabilitation strategies for volumetric muscle loss injury; and Michael Southern successfully defended his dissertation work. Additionally, Call published a paper with Robert Guldberg in the Journal of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine on the use of aggregate MSC delivery to improve muscle regeneration.
April: Qualls is named best undergraduate fellow poster presentation at the Annual Regenerative Bioscience Center Fellows Symposium. (Learn more about the RBC Fellows program .)
March: Nichenko and Call published a paper with Hang Yin in The Journal of Clinical Investigation on the role of hypoxia-inducible factors in satellite cell dynamics during muscle regeneration.
February: Nathan Jenkins and Call published a paper in Experimental Physiology on the effects of exercise intensity on circulating microparticles in men and women.
January: Kevin McCully and Call published a commentary in the Journal of Applied Physiology on the insights and limitations of using near-infrared spectrophotometry to determine muscle oxidative capacity.
December: Southern and Call published a paper with Kayvan Forouhesh Tehrani and Luke Mortensen in Biomedical Optics Express on the use of two-photon deep-tissue spatially resolved mitochondrial imaging using membrane potential fluorescence fluctuations.
November: Benjamin Corona, Greising, and Call published a paper in Muscle & Nerve on the impact of volumetric muscle loss injury on motoneuron axotomy; Southern received a travel award and took home the 2nd place poster prize at the sixth annual Symposium on Regenerative Rehabilitation in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
October: Call published a paper in Free Radical Biology & Medicine on the ability of muscle-derived EcSOD to protect against multiple organ dysfunction syndrome in mice.
September: Khalid Salaita and Call receive funding from the Regenerative Engineering & Medicine Center Seed Grant Program to investigate mechanical cues to to alter mitochondrial structure and function during tissue regeneration.
August: Vitor Lira, Yan, and Call published a paper in Scientific Reports on unfavorable cardiac remodeling with exercise in obese mice with autophagy deficiency.
June: Jenkins, McCully, and Call published a paper in Journal of Applied Physiology on experimental intermittent ischemia and cytokine production.
April: Nichenko and Southern awarded the Caroline tum Suden/Frances Hellebrandt Professional Opportunity Award from the American Physiological Society at Experimental Biology; Southern awarded Dissertation Completion Award by the University of Georgia Graduate School; Nichenko and Southern invited to give presentation based on their abstract submissions at the RBC Research Symposium in Athens; American Journal of Physiology-Cell Physiology names a figure from a recent paper published by Call #ImageOfTheWeek.
March: Call published a paper in American Journal of Physiology-Cell Physiology on the necessity of Ulk1 for functional regeneration of skeletal muscle.
February: Nichenko awarded Mary Ella Lunday Soule Scholarship by the UGA Department of Kinesiology; Gordon Warren and Call speak at Southeastern American College of Sports Medicine Annual Conference on “Recovery from Varying Types of Muscle Injury: Importance of Repair versus Regeneration and Role of Mitochondria”; Southern published a paper in PLoS One on skeletal muscle metabolic adaptations to endurance training with statin use.
December: Recent publication by Beedle and Call in Skeletal Muscle highlighted in UGA’s Columns newspaper.
November: Beedle and Call received funding from the Muscular Dystrophy Association to investigate mTOR inhibition to treat dystroglycan muscular dystrophy; Qualls won third place for poster presentation at Southeastern Medical Scientist Symposium.
August: Lowe and Call published a paper in Methods in Molecular Biology on eccentric contraction-induced muscle injury.
July: Hang Yin and Call received NIH funding to investigate the role of hypoxia-induced factors on skeletal muscle repair.
June: Nichenko published a paper in American Journal of Physiology-Cell Physiology describing the role of autophagy during skeletal muscle regeneration.
May: Call speaks at the Robert M. Berne Cardiovascular Research Center Career Development Symposium at the University of Virginia on “Starting your research laboratory”; Beedle and Call published a paper in Skeletal Muscle on the effectiveness of rapamycin to treat muscular dystrophy.
April: Greising and Call receive funding from Alliance for Regenerative Rehabilitation Research and Training to investigate early rehabilitation for orthopedic combat casualties.
March: Southern won second place for poster presentation at College of Education Research Conference.
March: Warren and Call published a paper in Sports Medicine on minimal evidence of secondary strength loss after acute muscle injury; Nichenko won second place poster presentation at 2016 Graduate Students and Postdocs in Science Research Day.
January: Nichenko was invited to give a presentation based on her abstract submission to Advances in Skeletal Muscle Biology in Health & Disease Conference in Gainesville, Florida.
August: Call speaks at the annual Regenerative Engineering & Medicine Retreat on “Engineering the regenerative niche to facilitate muscle repair via cell-based delivery of adipose-derived stem cells.”
April: Call gives the opening remarks at the Regenerative Bioscience Center Undergraduate Research Symposium on “Learning from failures in science.”
March: Call speaks at University of South Carolina Department of Exercise Science on “Skeletal muscle function: contraction and beyond.”
February: A recent publication by Call in Circulation Heart Failure receives media coverage, including UVAToday, NBC29, ScienceDaily; Call speaks at Southeastern American College of Sports Medicine Annual Conference on “Is Mitochondrial maintenance via mitophagy contributing to skeletal muscle adaptation and recovery?”; Call becomes a member of the Regenerative Bioscience Center at the University of Georgia.
October: Robert Guldberg and Call receive funding from Regenerative Engineering & Medicine Center Seed Grant Program to investigate mesenchymal stem cell treatment to enhance functional skeletal muscle regeneration.
August: Call joins the University of Georgia Department of Kinesiology
- Phone: 706-542-0636
- Email: email@example.com