MDA Supporting new Research project at Monash University

The Myopathy Research Team in at Monash University is looking for a PhD student to work on an exciting new project, funded by Muscular Dystrophy Australia and supervised by Dr Tamar Sztal. The aim of the project is to study inflammation in Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) and the effect on necrosis and regeneration.

Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) results in progressive skeletal muscle degeneration during childhood growth and death often around 20 years of age. Whilst the mechanisms of muscle loss in DMD are not completely understood, there is strong evidence for the involvement of altered calcium homeostasis, increased inflammation, and oxidative stress associated with myofibre damage and necrosis. Studies on human and mouse dystrophic muscle show that high numbers of immune cells infiltrate areas of dying muscle. This immune response stimulates regenerative processes including myogenesis, however, some of these cells, in particular neutrophils and macrophages, are also likely to exacerbate muscle damage, having severe clinical consequences for DMD. Using the unique advantages of the zebrafish system to visually track and monitor muscle damage in dmd zebrafish in real time, this proposal specifically investigates the contribution of neutrophils during the immune response and subsequent activation of oxidative stress pathways to increase necrosis and wasting of dmd muscle fibres. Data generated from this research has implications for the fundamental understanding of the pathogenesis of DMD and investigates new therapeutic approaches to reduce oxidative stress to lessen muscle damage and strengthen growing muscle fibres.