At all scales of biological complexity, skeletal muscles exhibit exquisite relationships between structure and function. In this work, we are especially interested in muscle architecture –defined as the geometric arrangement of muscle fibers with respect to the muscle’s mechanical line of action –and how it impacts function. I will describe our development of an advanced magnetic resonance imaging technique called diffusion tensor imaging and how it can be used to quantify whole-muscle architecture at high spatial resolution. I will also describe our efforts to relate structural properties such as fiber curvature, length, and orientation to mechanical properties such as strain development, as well as our plans for the future development of these techniques.
Bruce M. Damon, Ph.D. is appointed as the Director of Clinical Imaging Research in the Stephens Family Clinical Research Institute of the Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana, IL. He is also appointed as an Adjunct Professor of Bioengineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and as an Adjoint Professor of Radiology and Radiological Sciences and Biomedical Engineering at Vanderbilt University. The overall goal of his research program is to develop and apply in vivo imaging and spectroscopy methods to advance the quantitative understanding of human physiology. His contributions to science have included improving the understanding of the mechanisms of contrast in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI); the development of MRI methods for human physiology research; the application of these methods to advance the understanding of human skeletal muscle and brown adipose tissue; and the development of improved MRI biomarkers of muscle disease. His research program is funded by grants from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders.