Biomedical Sciences

Biomedical Sciences Experts

Douglas Swank

Associate Professor
School of Science
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
United States of America


Dr. Swank has been a member of the RPI faculty since 2005. He heads a dynamic, multidisciplinary laboratory of students, staff, and post-docs. His laboratory investigates how muscle is able to power an amazingly wide variety of locomotory tasks and modulate heart function. Research focuses in the lab include determining how variation between muscle fiber types (e.g. slow- versus fast-contracting fibers) is generated, and the mechanisms behind muscle mechanical properties such as stretch activation and force enhancement. An integrative approach is taken, starting with muscle genes and moving up in scale to protein expression and function, muscle mechanics, and whole organism studies. This comprehensive approach is possible by exploiting the unique genetic properties and transgenic techniques available for Drosophila.

Research Interest

Heart Disease, Muscle Disease, Cardiac Physiology


  • Zhao C., Swank D.M. (2017) The Drosophila indirect flight muscle myosin heavy chain isoform is insufficient to transform the jump muscle into a highly stretch-activated muscle type. American Journal of Physiology: Cell Physiology 312(2):C111-C118.

  • Suggs J.A., Melkani G.C., Glasheen B.M., Detor M.M., Melkani A., Marsan N.P., Swank D.M., Bernstein S.I. (2017) A Drosophila model of dominant inclusion body myopathy type 3 shows diminished myosin kinetics that reduce muscle power and yield myofibrillar defects. Disease Models & Mechanisms 10(6):761-771.

Global Experts from United States of America

Global Experts in Subject

Share This Profile