376-0208-00L  Molecular and Cellular Biology of Exercise and Muscle Regeneration - Practical Aspects

SemesterAutumn Semester 2022
LecturersO. Bar-Nur, K. De Bock
Periodicityyearly recurring course
Language of instructionEnglish
Laboratory Course in Molecular Biology (376-0006-02L)

Number of Participants limited to 16

AbstractThe skeletal muscle biology field purposes to understand how muscles coordinate movement, regenerate following injury and adapt to exercise stimuli. In this course, the students will acquire insights into the molecular aspects of muscle biology and exercise, in addition to gaining hands-on experience in experimental techniques that are commonly used to research muscle regeneration and exercise.
ObjectiveThe objective of this course is to introduce students into current research topics and outstanding questions in skeletal muscle biology. Also, the course will give students hands-on experience in respect to the tools needed to perform basic molecular biology research in the field of exercise and skeletal muscle biology. Students will learn how to translate a scientific question in muscle biology into a small scientific project. They will learn how to design an experiment and to analyze and critically interpret experimental data.
ContentThe course will consist of 4 main research themes and the anticipated 16 students will be divided into 4 subgroups of 4 students- each one will focus on one of the following research topics:
Topic 1: Molecular pathways that control muscle stem cell self-renewal and differentiation
Topic 2: Genome engineering to correct genetic mutations that cause muscle diseases
Topic 3: Muscle fiber composition, force production and insulin sensitivity
Topic 4: Amino acid sensitivity in skeletal muscle following exercise

The course will be organized into 7 sessions, each approx. 4 hours: the first 2 sessions will be theoretical and include an introductory lectures by the professors in addition to a journal club presentation by the students. This journal club aims to provide theoretical and scientific background that will be used to identify outstanding research questions. This will be followed by 4 practical sessions (hands-on experience) and 1 final evaluation session.
For the journal club, each group of students will receive a peer-review article that is highly relevant to the respective group’s research topic. Each of the 4 groups will present and discuss the article in a journal club format to the rest of the participants the following week. During the four practical sessions, students will gain hands-on experiences and learn different lab techniques related to molecular biology of exercise and muscle regeneration. Each group will be presented with a research objective that is related to their topic, and perform in collaboration with teaching assistants a set of experiments that aim to address the research objective. At the final evaluation session, each group of students will present their results and identify follow-up research questions and hypothesis based on their experimental achievements.

Select practical methods that the proposed course will teach include:
i. Group 1: tissue culture, isolation of muscle stem cells via FACS, differentiation of muscle stem cell into muscle fibers, small molecules screens, quantitative analysis of muscle cell proliferation and fusion, Immunofluorescence.
ii. Group 2: tissue culture, differentiation of muscle stem cells into muscle fibers, guide RNA design and Crispr-Cas9 gene editing of genetic mutations that cause muscle diseases in muscle stem cells and fibers. Immunofluorescence and PCR.
iii. Group 3: ex vivo assessment of muscle force characteristics, cryosectioning of muscle tissue, immunofluorescence and western blot.
iv. Group 4: tissue culture of muscle stem cells, isolation of muscle stem cells and differentiation into muscle fibers, amino acid stimulation of muscle fibers, Western blot.
Prerequisites / NoticePrerequisites:
376-0006-02L Laboratory Course in Molecular biology