Gretchen A. Meyer, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Physical Therapy
Biomedical Engineering

Developmental, Regenerative and Stem Cell Biology Program

  • 314 286-1425


  • Understanding how changes at the molecular and cellular level in skeletal muscle affect muscle structure and function

Research Abstract:

The integrative muscle physiology research group focuses on understanding how changes at the molecular and cellular level in skeletal muscle affect muscle structure and function. And, in turn, how pathological changes in muscle loading and use affect cellular processes. We currently have two main research projects, one looking at the progressive changes to the rotator cuff following a tear and another investigating the drivers and consequences of the development of intramuscular (extra-fibrillar) fat.

Current Projects:

1) Rotator Cuff Pathology

Tears to the rotator cuff are one of the most commonly treated orthopaedic problems. Interventional success is highly dependent on muscle quality which ranges from healthy contractile tissue to >90% replacement with fat and connective tissue, depending on the severity and chronicity of the tear. This project is focused on understanding the mechanical drivers behind these pathological changes and investigating whether the resident muscle progenitor cell population can be used as a therapeutic target to promote growth and healing in the affected muscles.

2) Development of Intramuscular Fat

The appearance of fat cells between muscle fibers is a hallmark of a variety of muscle diseases including Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, Type II diabetes and rotator cuff tears. Little is known about the source of this fat, the signals that drive its formation or the functional consequences on muscle performance. This project seeks to investigate the sensitivity of the progenitor cells thought to be the source of this fat to mechanical signals for adipo- and myogenesis and evaluate them as potential targets for physical interventions. On the other side, we are also investigating the physiological consequences of replacing contractile tissue with fat at the muscle and muscle systems levels.

Mentorship and Commitment to Diversity Statement:
The Meyer lab makes mentorship a priority and takes seriously the responsibility of guiding lab members through the phase of their training they spend with us.  This requires a unique approach for each individual.  We value each lab member's background and perspective and the unique contributions they make to lab science and lab culture.  We believe that diversity strengthens our science and our community and welcome everyone with a love of muscle and desire to work hard.

Selected Publications:

Dunham C, Havlioglu N, Chamberlain A, Lake S, Meyer GA. Adipose stem cells exhibit mechanical memory and reduce fibrotic contracture in a rat elbow injury model. FASEB J 2020 Sep;34(9):12976-12990

Biltz NK, Collins KH, Shen KC, Schwartz K, Harris CA, Meyer GA. Infiltration of intramuscular adipose tissue impairs skeletal muscle contraction. J. Physiol. 2020 Jul;598(13):2669-2683

Bohnert KL, Hastings MK, Sinacore DR, Johnson JE, Klein SE, McCormick JJ, Gontarz P, Meyer GA. Skeletal Muscle Regeneration in Advanced Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy. Foot Ankle Int. 2020 May;41(5):536-548

Bryniarski AR, Meyer GA Brown fat promotes muscle growth during regeneration. Journal of Orthopaedic Research. 2019 August;37(8):1817-1826

Biltz, N.K., Meyer, G.A., “A novel method for the quantification of fatty infiltration in skeletal muscle” Skeletal Muscle 2017 Jan;10;7:1

Last Updated: 3/22/2021 1:44:36 PM

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