Walter Herzog, PhD
Dr. Herzog studies cells within the living system using confocal and multi-photon microscopy, which allows his lab to study cells in knee joints while the joint is loaded physiologically by muscular contraction. This capability allows his lab to gather information about the cell mechanics and biological response to loading in both normal and arthritic knees.
Dr. Herzog is well known for the work he does in measuring the function of myofibrils – the very smallest contractile units of a muscle cell. Using picotechnology, (technology even smaller than nanotechnology where atoms and devices are positioned with sub-nanometer accuracy,) he has been able to measure the infinitesimally small forces produced by a single myofibril (there are about 10,000 of them in a single muscle cell) and to relate altered function on the nano-level to the functional insufficiencies of skeletal muscles and the heart.
Dr. Herzog’s lab also examines the effect that proteins such as Titin have on muscle force regulation. They look at how the protein may affect cells in people with diseased hearts, however there are many applications for this knowledge including the treatment of cerebral palsy. Dr. Herzog’s lab has measured myofibrils from children with cerebral palsy and found that they are ten times ‘stiffer’ than normal. When Herzog’s lab removed Titin from the myofibril they returned to normal stiffness.
Read more about Dr. Herzog's research here (probiotic study) and here.