Muscle Health Research Centre (MRHC)

York University, Toronto, Ontario
What the facility does

Research centre for the study of muscle health and disease.

Areas of expertise

The Muscle Health Research Centre (MHRC) provides a centralized and focused research emphasis on the importance of skeletal muscle to the overall health and well-being of Canadians. Skeletal muscle, 40 per cent of a human's body mass, is a unique and large tissue that significantly contributes to an individual's metabolism, locomotion, and overall quality of life.

Based in the Faculty of Health, the MHRC facilitates the integrated study of muscle biology in the broadest terms, including muscle development, disease, metabolism, blood supply, injury and regeneration, and adaptation to acute and chronic exercise. Approaches used by faculty and graduate students for the study of muscle include molecular, cellular and whole-body techniques.

Since its foundation in 2009, the MHRC has grown considerably and continues to fulfill its mandate to be “to be Canada’s leading research centre for the study of muscle health and disease”.  It easily comprises the most comprehensive research and education consortium devoted to skeletal, cardiac and smooth muscle health in Canada. Indeed, it compares very favourably with those research institutions of a similar theme around the world.

MHRC members are very active in individual grant submissions, and where applicable, collaborative equipment and infrastructure opportunities. Its membership grows steadily every year, with an attempt to broaden the multi-disciplinary nature of the Centre from the theoretical, fundamental science of muscle biology from which it originated, to include more applied translational research programs and perspectives.  In addition, the MHRC continues to hold its very popular educational activities every year, consistent with the goal of uniting faculty and trainees in the areas of muscle and heart health, with collaboration and interaction in mind. Our programs provide a platform that continues to increase the visibility of York University, and the MHRC, in Canada and around the world. 

Research services

Our research talents match well with societal trends that influence government and funding agency priorities, including shifting demographics, advances in technology, and a realization of the importance of physical activity in combatting diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes and muscle wasting conditions. We have expertise in the following:

  • Research covering the spectrum from genes, to organelles, to cells, organs and the whole body;
  • Fundamental basic science and discovery, applied physiology, biomechanics and rehabilitation;
  • Muscle and adipose tissue metabolism, fatigue and bioenergetics, gene expression and adaptation during exercise and development;
  • Cardiac adaptations to exercise and disease;
  • Stem cells, immune cells, endothelial cells and how they support muscle health or provoke pathophysiology;
  • Nutritional interventions that support muscle health and adaptations to exercise.
Sectors of application
  • Healthcare and social services
  • Life sciences, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment



Cell culture facility


Flow cytometer


Small animal surgical facility


Muscle contractile activity equipment


Upright and inverted fluorescent microscopes


Rodent treadmills and activity wheels


Oroboros Instruments high-resolution respirometer


Harvard Apparatus Isoflurane anesthesia station


Beckman Coulter LS-6500 Scintillation Counter


Plate readers




Flexcell FX-4000 Cell Stretching Apparatus


Milli-Q Water Purification System


Arcturus PixCell II Laser Capture Microdissection (LCM) System


High-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) system with a negative conductivity detector


In vivo Micro-CT imager

For body composition in mice and rats.

Muscle stimulator


PowerLab in situ muscle stimulation equipment


Luminex multiplex system


Metabolic cages


Patch-clamp electrophysiology setups (2)


Isolated perfused heart systems (2)