Multiscale Muscle Mechanophysiology (M3) Lab
Principal Investigator: Silvia Blemker, Ph.D.

About Us

Our Story

Improving health through musculoskeletal modeling.

About Us

The Multiscale Muscle Mechanophysiology (“M3”) lab is collectively fascinated by skeletal muscles, which are the motors for all the wide range of voluntary movements in the human body. Each muscle’s properties are beautifully tuned for a specific function in the body, which can be easily disrupted by diseases such as muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, or in aging populations. We seek to gain new insights into the form, function, biology, and diseases of muscles. Our work has the ultimate goal of improving treatments and quality of life for individuals suffering from muscle-related clinical problems. We integrate a variety of computational and experimental approaches to achieve this goal.

RESEARCH

Below are some of the current applications of our work. Check out our publications for more information on current and past projects.

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy

Muscle Tissue Engineering

Ocular Biomechanics

Cleft Palate Repair

Human Athletic Performance

Muscle Adaptation and Remodeling

OUR TEAM

  • Silvia Blemker, PhD

    Principal Investigator

    ssblemker@virginia.edu
    Dr. Blemker is from Lawrence, Kansas. She did her undergraduate and Master’s work in Biomedical Engineering at Northwestern University, and her PhD in Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University. She is broadly interested in muscle mechanics & physiology, multi-scale modeling, mentoring students, and teaching. Her hobbies include: spending time with family, organizing legos, jogging, hiking, reading, traveling, and tennis (at the very beginner level).

  • Xiao Hu, PhD

    Postdoctoral Researcher

  • Brian Jones, PhD

    Postdoctoral Researcher

    bkj3f@eservices.virginia.edu
    Brian received his Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Clemson University in 2002 and 2004, respectively. He then worked as an R&D Engineer for Cook Medical before returning to graduate school to pursue a PhD in Mechanical Engineering at Columbia University. He received his PhD in 2015 and began a post-doc in the M3 Lab in 2017. Brian is working in collaboration with NASA to study the changes that occur in skeletal muscle during space flight.

  • Katie Knaus

    PhD Candidate

    ker4e@virginia.edu
    Katie is a third year PhD student in biomedical engineering. She received her B.S. in mechanical engineering and physics from UVA. Her current research focuses on how lower limb musculature and functional capacity varies across clinical to athletic populations, and on the ciliary muscle of the eye and its role in presbyopia and accommodation. Katie loves playing outside with her family, especially skiing!

  • Thanh (Vi) Tran

    PhD Candidate

    ttt9bu@virginia.edu
    Vi is a double Hoo, earning a B.S. in Engineering Science-Nanomedicine in 2014 and now pursuing her PhD in Biomedical Engineering, both at the University of Virginia. She is currently researching the muscle structure of UVA athletes and working to develop a novel bottle for babies born with cleft palate. In her freetime, Vi enjoys swimming, traveling, exploring C'ville, and cheering in all UVA sports events (especially UVA basketball) - GO HOOS!

  • Adrienne Williams

    PhD Candidate

    afw6gf@virginia.edu
    Adrienne is from Kingston, Jamaica. She is an alumnus of the University of the West Indies, Jamaica (BSc) and North Carolina A&T State University (MS). She is excited about developing computational models of lower limb muscles of Duchenne muscular dystrophy patients in order to determine the relationship between muscle strains and damage. Adrienne is a Twitter critter who loves playing soccer, attending group exercise classes, and spending time with family, especially her husband and daughter.

  • Christian (Hunter) Wallace

    PhD Candidate

    chw3gr@virginia.edu
    Hunter earned his B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2015. As a member of the M3 Lab, he has worked with orthopedic surgeons to develop a novel tendon fixation device.

  • Amanda Meppelink-Westman

    NSF Predoctoral Fellow, PhD Candidate

    am5wk@virginia.edu
    Amanda received her B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Washington University in St. Louis and worked in the Plastic Surgery Research Laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital for 4 years before returning to graduate school. In her graduate research, Amanda is particularly interested in combining experimental tissue engineering work with finite element modeling to predict and assess the outcomes of therapies for musculoskeletal injuries. Outside the lab, Amanda enjoys baking whoopie pies, playing basketball, and supporting all things Boston. Go Pats!

  • Matt DiSalvo

    PhD Student, Second Year

    mdd5dn@virginia.edu
    Matthew completed a B.S. in Bioengineering from Lehigh University in 2016 and a M.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Duke University in 2018. Currently, he is working on creating finite element models of volumetric muscle loss injuries that can be used in the design of regenerative therapies. When not in the lab, Matthew enjoys playing board games, brewing beer, hiking, and watching films.

  • Ridhi Sahani

    PhD Student, Second Year

    rs8te@virginia.edu
    Ridhi received her B.S. in Biomedical Engineering with a minor in Dance from Bucknell University in 2018. Her research is focused on Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, specifically the effect of ECM remodeling on fibrosis. Outside of lab, Ridhi is continuing to dance in the UVA Dance Concerts and enjoys reading, exploring Charlottesville, and binge watching Grey's Anatomy.

  • Allie McCrady

    PhD Student, First Year

    anm9xd@virginia.edu
    Allie is a first year PhD student in biomedical engineering. She received her B.S. in biomedical engineering from Trine University in May 2019. Her previous research has used ultrasound to investigate the mechanical properties of tendons in the body. Her new research focus will utilize her experience in ultrasound to explore changes in muscles effected by Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and develop models based on these findings. Outside the lab, Allie enjoys watching The Bachelor franchise or Grey’s Anatomy, petting cats, and visiting wineries.

  • Be Part
    Of Our
    Story!

    Opportunities

    Prospective Graduate Students

    Prospective graduate students interested in joining our research group should apply to our BME graduate program here or contact Dr. Silvia Blemker.

    Undergraduates

    Bright, hard-working undergraduates interested in working in the lab are invited to attend lab meetings for one semester to become familiar with our research before getting involved with a project. To be considered for a position, please email a cover letter and résumé to Brian Jones at bkj3f@eservices.virginia.edu


Meet our alumni!

Publications

Contact Us

M3 Lab Address

415 Lane Road
MR5 Room 2231
Box 800759
Charlottesville, VA 22903
(434)982-3329

Lab Director

Silvia Blemker, PhD
Associate Professor, Biomedical Engineering
MR5 Room 2133
ssblemker@virginia.edu
(434)924-6291

Here's a map of the UVA hospital area. MR5 is building 20B, and parking is available in the 11th Street Parking Garage - Building 39.