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Kerry S. McDonald, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Medical Pharmacology and Physiology


Medical Pharmacology and Phsyiology
One Hospital Drive, N406
Columbia, MO 65212


Dr. McDonald's research focuses on the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in the regulation of striated muscle contraction and how these regulatory processes are altered by disease and other physiological stresses such as exercise.  To address these questions, his lab takes a multi-faceted approach incorporating tissue, cellular, and molecular preparations.  For many of their experiments,we utilize preparations of single skeletal muscle fibers or single cardiac myocytes from which the sarcolemma has been chemically removed while the myofilaments remain intact so that mechanical measurements can be made. In these preparations the chemical environment surrounding the myofilaments can be manipulated, allowing precise control of the cell's level of activation.  Another advantage of these preparations is that the protein composition from these cells can be experimentally manipulated as well as quantified after mechanical measurements.  Currently, his laboratory is investigating the factors that regulate power output capacity of single cardiac myocytes, which is a physiological variable that is essential for the heart to move blood throughout the circulatory system.   They are examining how power output is regulated by factors such as contractile protein isoforms, activator calcium, sarcomere length, and phosphorylation states of myofibrillar proteins. His research program also provides a means for trainees in the Department of Medical Pharmacology and Physiology to examine either the mechanical behavior or altered biochemical properties of striated muscle in response to various models of muscle disease or altered muscle activity.  For example, they are collaborating with Dr. Harold Laughlin to examine whether cardiac muscle regulatory proteins, phosphorylation states of these proteins, and contractile properties of cardiac myocytes are altered in response to exercise.  They are also collaborating with Dr. Joe Kornegay and Dr. Casey Childers in studies that examine mechanical changes of skeletal muscle in response to a canine model of Duchenne's muscular dystrophy.


More information on Dr. McDonald and his lab can be found here.

Research Areas of Interest

Biological physics
Cardiovascular biology/ research
Exercise physiology
Musculoskeletal biology
Physiological recordings
Protein biology
Protein structure/function
Proteonomic analysis