Walter Herzog


Contact via University of Calgary


Key Research Areas
Associated Researchers
Associated Organizations

Recent Research Projects

Cellular and Molecular Biomechanics of the Musculoskeletal System

2015/16-2019/20 • $2,057,715 • PI
Overarching Direction and Major Questions: I am a musculoskeletal biomechanist and a Canada Research Chair in Cellular and Molecular Biomechanics. My group’s research has been focussed on two areas of continued CIHR support: (i) exploring the molecular mechanisms of striated muscle contraction,...

CONNECT! NSERC CREATE Program In Soft Connective Tissue Regeneration/Therapy

2015/16-2019/20 • $1,500,000 • PI,CO
The CONNECT Training Program will provide a unique, enriched, and multidisciplinary training opportunity to undergraduate and graduate students and post-doctoral fellows in the development of novel, effective treatment approaches for soft connective tissue injuries. In particular, we will be...

Molecular and Cellular Biomechanics

2015/16-2019/20 • $900,000 • PI
My research focuses on injuries and diseases of the musculoskeletal system. In order to understand these, we need to measure how cells deform, signal and produce proteins when loaded mechanically. I developed novel and unique techniques that allow us to make these measurements in intact joints....

Investigating and optimizing cardiac cellular contractile properties following chronic exercise training

2017/18-2019/20 • $150,000 • Scholarship/Fellowship,Other
Background: Cardiovascular disease accounts for the deaths of one third of all Canadians, and costs the health care system over $20 billion each year. However, participation in exercise has been shown to have a profound impact on overall health, physical functioning, and longevity. Despite these...

Breaking the chain of maternally transmitted obesity: oligofructose supplementation during gestation and lactation and its impact on muscle function in offspring

2017/18-2019/20 • $128,333 • Scholarship/Fellowship,Other
In 2015, the Canadian Medical Association declared obesity to be a chronic medical disease requiring enhanced research, treatment and prevention efforts. Early life events are now recognized to play an important role in lifelong susceptibility to obesity. One important risk factor for childhood...

Small Animal Muscle Dynamometry System

2019/20 • $121,330 • PI
Request: We are requesting $ 121,330 for the purchase of a world-unique small animal muscle testing system, that will allow for the simultaneous and instantaneous measurement of muscle force, fascicle length, and changes in individual sarcomere lengths in skeletal muscles of small animals (mice,...

Nano-Mechanics, Sarcomere, Myofibril and Protein Testing System

2018/19 • $150,000 • PI
Actin and myosin are two proteins that make up molecular motors that drive many functions in animals including cell division, ATP production, hearing, and most importantly, contractions in muscles. We have studied the molecular mechanisms of muscle contractions for the past 15 years and realized...

Molecular mechanisms of load bearing in articular cartilage

2015/16-2018/19 • $135,000 • Scholarship/Fellowship,Other
Articular cartilage (AC) is a soft tissue that is essential for smooth and pain-free movement of our joints. Damage of AC leads to a debilitating joint disease called osteoarthritis (OA). OA is characterized by severe pain, joint swelling, redness, and can result in severe restriction of joint...

The effects of moderate exercise and prebiotic fibre supplementation on vastus lateralis muscle in an animal model of obesity

2018/19 • $5,000 • Scholarship/Fellowship,Other
Obesity has been associated with a variety of co-morbidities and chronic diseases, such as musculoskeletal diseases. Using a rat model, it has been shown that muscles from rats exposed to a high-fat high-sugar diet had an increased amount of intramuscular fat deposition, muscle fibrosis, and an...

Force-sharing among synergistic muscles and mechanical properites of skeletal muscles

2013/14-2017/18 • $576,000 • PI
More than half a century ago, A. Huxley developed the cross-bridge theory of muscle contraction, a theory that is represented in current textbooks of anatomy and physiology. According to the cross-bridge theory, muscle shortening occurs through the relative sliding of two sets of filaments,...

Developing A Profile of the Metabolic Osteoarthritis Subtype Based on Modifiable Metabolic Risk Factors

2015/16-2017/18 • $85,000 • Scholarship/Fellowship,Other
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common muscle and joint problem in adults, stemming from a breakdown of the cartilage lining our joints. Individuals often suffer disability, pain, and absence from work, which brings about $200 million in additional health care costs each year. In 2011, OA...

Establishing the Effect of Prolonged Electrical Stimulation on Mitochondrial Apoptosis and Inflammation in Skeletal Muscle

2017/18 • $5,000 • Scholarship/Fellowship,Other
In disorders such as cerebral palsy (CP), spinal cord injury, and stroke, skeletal muscles experience prolonged neuromuscular stimulation from the central nervous system. The prolonged stimulation experience can have debilitating effects on movement and coordination. To research these effects in...

The effects of moderate exercise and fibre supplementation on vastus lateralis muscle in an animal model of obesity

2017/18 • $5,000 • Scholarship/Fellowship,Other
Obesity has been associated with a variety of co-morbidities and chronic diseases, such as musculoskeletal diseases. Using a rat model, it has been shown that muscles from rats exposed to a high-fat high-sugar diet had an increased amount of intramuscular fat deposition, muscle fibrosis, and an...

Does Diet-Induced Obesity Lead to Functional And Structural Deficiencies in Rat Muscles?

2016/17 • $5,000 • Scholarship/Fellowship,Other
Diet induced obesity is accompanied by low level, systemic inflammation of the entire body. Recently, in a rat model of diet-induced obesity, we demonstrated that obesity is an independent risk factor for the onset and increased rate of progression of knee osteoarthritis (OA). We also observed...

Cellular and molecular biomechanics

2010/11-2015/16 • $1,100,000 • PI
The Canada Research Chair in molecular and cellular biomechanics is aimed at addressing specific muscle (skeletal and cardiac) and neuromuscular diseases using a unique mixture of femto-, nano-, and micro-technology approaches to help specific patient populations. Areas of focus include cerebral...

Chondrocyte mechanics and biology in the intact joint: towards an understanding of osteoarthritis development in vivo

2010/11-2015/16 • $449,170 • PI
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a debilitating disease of the joint. It affects approximately half of Canada's population aged sixty and older. It is associated with pain, joint stiffness, loss of muscle mass, impaired mobility, and it harms the quality of life of the elderly more than any other single...

The role of sarcomere disruption and structural proteins in skeletal and cardiac muscle injury

2011/12-2015/16 • $419,757 • PI
When active muscles are repeatedly stretched, they become injured and lose the ability to produce force. Although observations on stretch-induced muscle injuries are abundant, the origin for these injuries remains a matter of debate. The most prominent theory is the idea that the smallest...

The functional role of titin in muscle contraction

2013/14-2015/16 • $189,018 • PI
Titin is the third most abundant protein in muscles, and has been considered to have only passive structural roles until recently. However, in the past three years of CIHR support, we developed novel techniques that allowed us to study the properties of titin in completely new ways. By doing so,...

Systemic Overexpression of Follistatin to Resecue Muscle Metabolic Health in Osteoarthritis

2015/16 • $6,000 • Scholarship/Fellowship,Other
No summary

NSERC CREATE Training Program for Biomedical Engineers for the 21st Century

2010/11-2014/15 • $1,500,000 • PI,CO
The goal of the CREATE program is to train and prepare 21st century biomedical engineers for the challenges of their academic and industrial jobs and provide them with the tools to become leaders in the field. This will be accomplished with an integrated programme crossing from the undergraduate...

The energetics of molecular motors

2014/15 • $147,042 • PI
Actin and myosin are two proteins that make up molecular motors that drive many functions in animals including cell division, ATP production, regulation of hearing, and most importantly contractions in striated (skeletal and heart) muscles. We have studied the molecular mechanisms of muscle...

Muscle rehabilitation of cerebral palsy patients receiving botulinum toxin type-A (Botox) treatments

2011/12-2013/14 • $281,363 • PI,CO
Background: Cerebral Palsy (CP) is an umbrella term designating a group of non-progressive neurologicaldisorders. One common treatment in CP is chemical denervation of spastic muscles using botulinum toxintype-A (BTXA). However, in pilot work we demonstrated that BTXA injections cause atrophy,...

Muscle rehabilitation of cerebral palsy patients recieving botulinum toxin type-A (Botox) treatments

2011/12-2013/14 • $281,362 • PI,CO
Background: Cerebral Palsy (CP) is an umbrella term designating a group of non-progressive neurological disorders. One common treatment in CP is chemical denervation of spastic muscles using botulinum toxin type-A (BTXA). However, in pilot work we demonstrated that BTXA injections cause atrophy,...

The functional role of titin in muscle contraction

2010/11-2013/14 • $251,472 • PI
For the past fifty years, muscle contraction has been assumed to be exclusively governed by the contractile proteins actin and myosin. However, recent experiments from our group demonstrate that titin, a structural protein so far believed to play a purely passive role in muscles, is likely to...

Force-sharing among synergistic muscles and mechanical properties of skeletal muscles

2010/11-2012/13 • $180,000 • PI
The long-term objective of our NSERC sponsored research is to solve the distribution problem in biomechanics. The distribution problem deals with identifying the muscular, ligamentous and bony contact forces that act in and around joints and allow us to perform a vast diversity of movements in a...

Mechanical properties of sarcomeres and mechanisms of contraction

2010/11 • $102,183 • PI
We are interested in diseases of the heart (cardiac) muscle and (skeletal) muscles responsible for everyday movement. These encompass cardiac myopathy, a heart enlargement that leads to death, muscular dystrophy, a disease of skeletal muscle where a missing structural element leads to muscle...

In vivo mechanobiology of joints and articular cartilage in models of joint degeneration and osteoarthritis

2010/11 • $81,529 • PI,CO
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and affects about 10% of the total population and about 50% of all people 60 years and older in Canada. Although the detailed mechanisms leading to osteoarthritis are not known, it is well accepted that mechanical joint loading plays a major...

An experimental animal model of muscle weakness and joint degeneration

2010/11 • $40,692 • PI,CO
There is an abundance of clinical and anecdotal evidence that muscle weakness may be a risk factor for joint degeneration and osteoarthritis. However, the relationship between muscle weakness and joint degeneration has not been studied systematically in controlled experimental trials. The aim of...

Patents