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York University opens Canada’s first Muscle Health Research Centre

York University opens Canada’s first Muscle Health Research Centre

York University officially opened the Muscle Health Research Centre (MHRC), the first of its kind in Canada, at 10:30 today.

“This centre is unique in that we’re zeroing in on skeletal muscle and its relationship to health, with a strong focus on what exercise can do,” says Professor David Hood, the centre’s founding director. “We’re looking for new discoveries on how exercise can benefit Canadians through adaptations in the metabolism and structure of muscle.”

The MHRC conducts collaborative research with scientists from the School of Kinesiology & Health Science and the Department of Biology.

“Like all research centres at York, the MHRC has an interdisciplinary mandate – that is, enabling researchers from different departments and disciplines to work together towards a common goal,” says Hood.

Scientists from the MHRC are investigating topics such as muscle metabolism, muscle development and muscle adaptations to exercise, metabolic disease and cancer. Professor Tara Haas and colleagues in the MHRC recently identified a cell-signalling process that stimulates blood vessel growth and may help individuals with diabetes to exercise and thereby improve their health (see YFile, Nov. 17, 2009). Hood’s research includes an ongoing series of investigations into the benefits of exercise (see YFile,  May 11, 2007, March 2, 2009 and January 18, 2010).

“As a leading research institution, we’re concerned with bringing the work of our scientists to bear on the real world and improving the health and well-being of Canadians,” says Harvey Skinner, dean of York’s Faculty of Health. The centre will serve as an innovative hub for the life sciences within York’s Faculty of Health, generating new knowledge and disseminating research findings to the public and the health system.

The opening ceremony featured guest speakers, including Olympic figure skater Barbara Underhill; Philip Gardiner, director of the Health, Leisure & Human Performance Research Institute at the University of Manitoba; and Jane Aubin, scientific director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Reserach Institute of Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis.

To learn more about muscle health research at York University, visit the MHRC Web site or contact Hood at

Republished courtesy of YFile – York University’s daily e-bulletin.