PULLMAN, Wash. – The new Washington Center for Muscle Biology (WCMB) is a multi-institutional center focused on the development of new therapies for muscle-related diseases, research and graduate training opportunities at Washington State University and the University of Washington and collaboration between faculty and industry professionals. The center is directed by Dan Rodgers, a muscle developmental biologist and associate professor of animal sciences at Washington State University. Fernando Santana, professor of physiology and biophysics at the University of Washington, is assistant director.
“Heart failure kills five million people a year in the U.S., muscle wasting disease affects more than 50 percent of the elderly and muscular dystrophy is one of the most devastating diseases in existence,” Rodgers said. “We have an enormous number of scientists, with a vast array of expertise, all working in the field of muscle biology and together we can achieve so much more.”
“Our main goal for the WCMB is for it to become the most recognized center for muscle biology research. With more than 70 muscle biologists already involved in the center, we are close to achieving that goal,” Rodgers said.
By working together and collaborating across scientific specialties, Rodgers said members of the center will be more effective. Potential members include not only faculty, but also students and industry professionals. The center is committed to exchanging knowledge between UW and WSU and the University of Idaho, as well as non-profit research institutes and biotech companies. If one member has extensive knowledge in a particular area of science, that knowledge can be taken and applied to another scientist’s expertise to further the collective efforts, Rodgers said.
In addition to the exchange of knowledge between academics and industry professionals, the center allows for graduate students to train and conduct research alongside seasoned muscle biologists.
Rodgers emphasized that in an economic climate where federal funding is at an all-time low, the WCMB is funded through its own efforts and not by the participating universities. “The center was established with absolutely no university money whatsoever,” he said “and is being built primarily upon donor support and industry investments. This partnership is about enhancing our research programs, training tomorrow’s scientists, facilitating discovery and developing novel treatments. Exchanging information and cooperative research is at the heart of our mission and, collectively, will enable our members to be far more successful.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Visit the WCMB website at http://wcmb.wsu.edu/.