Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

William Maul Measey Professor
Director, Center for Orphan Disease Research and Therapy

Department of Physiology
778 Clinical Research Building
415 Curie Boulevard
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6085

Phone: 215-898-8727
Lab: 215-898-0045
Fax: 215-573-2273


Other Perelman School of Medicine Affiliations
Pennsylvania Muscle Institute
Department of Medicine (Division of Cardiology)
Cell and Molecular Biology Graduate Program

S.B., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1975
A.M., Harvard University, 1980
Ph.D., Harvard University, 1984

William Maul Measey Chair in Physiology
Fellow of the American Heart Association

Professional Affiliations
Biophysical Society
American Heart Association (Basic Research Council)
American Society for Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Society of General Physiologists
American Society for Cell Biology

Research Interests
Molecular motors; muscle injury and disease; gene transfer into striated muscle; myofibrillogenesis

Research Description
Dr. Sweeney's research program addresses the molecular basis of cellular movement and force generation. His approach encompasses investigations on single molecules, single cells and whole organisms. At the level of the single molecule, the work examines the basic design and function of the molecular motor, myosin. These studies combine protein engineering with biochemical and structural analyses. At the level of isolated cells (cultured myocytes), the research program has two aspects: 1) investigation of the role of various proteins either in the generation of force, or in the transmission of force across the cell membrane, and 2) the process of assembly of the contractile apparatus. Studies at the whole animal level involve gene transfer into muscle (both germline and somatic cell). Somatic cell gene transfer (utilizing viruses) allows the assessment of acute alterations in cell structure and function following viral-driven expression of a single protein. In response to acute changes in properties, feedback pathways intrinsic and extrinsic to the muscle cell signal alterations in the muscle gene expression program that result in an adaptive response. This new approach allows critical evaluation of principles of muscle cell design as well as evaluation of possible causes of and treatments for muscle diseases. Currently, Dr. Sweeney is studying two diseases, Duchenne muscular dystrophy and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, with this approach.


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