Vladimir Ljubicic Ph.D.
Canada Research Chair (Tier II) in Neuromuscular Plasticity in Health and Disease
Our laboratory investigates mechanisms of neuromuscular maintenance and remodelling with an emphasis on identifying therapeutic targets for neuromuscular system disorders.
Neuromuscular plasticity refers to the remodeling of the neuromuscular system in response to genetic or environmental cues. Neuromuscular disorders, including the neuromuscular alterations that are hallmarks of advanced aging, are more common in Canada then generally appreciated. The central experimental questions that form the foundation of our research program are: 1) What roles do phenotype-modifying proteins play in the maintenance and remodeling of the peripheral neuromuscular system, and 2) Are these molecules efficacious therapeutic targets for neuromuscular disorders? To address these questions, we design investigations around rational lifestyle- and pharmacological-based strategies focused on the manipulation of powerful phenotype-bending molecules in the neuromuscular system. Furthermore, we employ an integrative and rigorous cell-to-animal experimental approach, as well as an innovative combination of molecular physiological solutions.
The long-term goals of our research activities in the PACE are to expand fundamental understanding of the mechanisms governing neuromuscular plasticity, as well as to identify novel, evidence-based therapeutic strategies to improve the lives of those with compromised neuromuscular systems. In our efforts to attain these goals, we design studies that examine the presence, location, and activity of specific proteins in neural and skeletal muscle tissues. We manipulate their molecular and cellular characteristics by employing lifestyle, drug, or genetic interventions in order to better define the function of these proteins, as well as to facilitate their identification as potential therapeutic targets. In collaboration with our colleagues in the PACE, as well as with partners in the Faculty of Health Sciences at McMaster University, we advance studies through basic, pre-clinical, and clinical phases of inquiry.