Applied/Health Research

We have developed the hypothesis that soleus muscle function may provide a surrogate measure of functional capacity in patients with chronic heart failure. We have combined musculoskeletal imaging (using novel 3D ultrasound techniques) in combination with biomechanical experimentation and modeling, to reveal novel structure-function relationships in chronic heart failure skeletal muscle and gait.


Funding for this project is supported by the National Heart Foundation of Australia (Grant G09P 4469).


Associated Publications:

Panizzolo, F.A., Maiorana, A.J., Naylor, L.H., Dembo, L., Lloyd, D.G., Green, D.J., Rubenson, J. (2016). Muscle size explains low passive skeletal muscle force in heart failure patients. PeerJ. Sep 15;4:e2447. (PDF)

Green, D.J, Panizzolo, F.A., Lloyd, D.G, Rubenson, J, and Maiorana, A.J. (2016). Soleus muscle function is a surrogate measure of health status in human heart failure. Exerc. Sport Sci. Rev. 44: 45-50. (PDF)

Panizzolo, F.A., Maiorana, A.J., Naylor, L.H., Lichtwark, G.A., Dembo, L., Lloyd, D.G., Green, D.J., Rubenson, J. (2015). Is the soleus a sentinel muscle for impaired aerobic capacity in heart failure? Med Sci Sports Exerc. 47: 498-508. (PDF)

Panizzolo, F.A., Maiorana, A.J., Naylor, L.H., Dembo, L., Lloyd, D.G., Green, D.J., Rubenson, J. (2014). Gait analysis in chronic heart failure: The calf as a locus of impaired walking capacity. J Biomech. 47: 3719-25. (PDF)

It is well known that physical inactivity is linked to poor health and lower quality of life. We are exploring the possibility that inactivity during childhood creates anatomical impediments to physical activity in adulthood, thus exacerbating inactivity-dependent disease.


We are approaching this question using a bipedal animal model (guinea fowl) that grows rapidly, reaching skeletal maturity in ~6 months.  This allows us to design controlled experiments examining the effect of disuse and inactivity on musculoskeletal structure and locomotor function across the animals entire growth span.

Fundamental knowledge arising from this work will lay the foundation for new childhood exercise prescriptions that, in addition to setting a pattern of healthy behavior, will optimize musculoskeletal structure to enhance lifelong health and mobility.


Funding for this project is supported by the NIH; National Instiute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (Grant R21AR071588).


Associated Publications:

Salzano, M.Q., Cox, S.M., Piazza, S.J., Rubenson, J. (2018). American Society of Biomechanics Journal of Biomechanics Award 2017: High acceleration training during growth increases optimal muscle fascicle lengths in an avian bipedal model. J. Biomech. 80: 1-7. (PDF)