• I am a VA Health Science Specialist at the Birmingham VAMC and an assistant professor in the department of Cell, Developmental, and Integrative Biology. My research interests look into how paralysis changes muscle mitochondrial function and systemic metabolism. We use transgenic mice with a muscle specific knockout of connexin43/45 hemichannels to systematically understand their role in creating muscle dysfunction after paralysis. Additional studies in our lab repurpose current drugs and test nutraceuticals after contusion spinal cord injury. Metabolomics, high resolution microscopy, mouse behavioral tests and standard protein and RNA biochemistry/molecular biology are the primary outcomes of our studies.
  • Selected Publications

    Academic Article

    Year Title Altmetric
    2019 Key glycolytic metabolites in paralyzed skeletal muscle are altered seven days after spinal cord injury in Mice 2019
    2019 Mitochondrial health and muscle plasticity after spinal cord injury 2019
    2018 Alterations in mitochondrial fission, fusion, and mitophagic protein expression in the gastrocnemius of mice after a sciatic nerve transection 2018
    2018 Plasma adiponectin levels are correlated with body composition, metabolic profiles, and mitochondrial markers in individuals with chronic spinal cord injury 2018
    2017 Abundance in proteins expressed after functional electrical stimulation cycling or arm cycling ergometry training in persons with chronic spinal cord injury 2017
    2017 Spinal Cord Injury Leads to Hyperoxidation and Nitrosylation of Skeletal Muscle Ryanodine Receptor-1 Associated with Upregulation of Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide Phosphate Oxidase 4 2017
    2017 Recombinant myostatin reduces highly expressed microRNAs in differentiating C2C12 cells 2017
    2017 Muscle–bone interactions: Movement in the field of mechano–humoral coupling of muscle and bone 2017
    2016 The signature of MicroRNA dysregulation in muscle paralyzed by spinal cord injury includes downregulation of MicroRNAs that target myostatin signaling 2016
    2016 Focal adhesion kinase signaling is decreased 56 days following spinal cord injury in rat gastrocnemius 2016
    2016 A soluble activin receptor IIB fails to prevent muscle atrophy in a mouse model of spinal cord injury 2016
    2015 Focal adhesion kinase and its role in skeletal muscle 2015
    2015 Changes in α7β1 integrin signaling after eccentric exercise in heat-shocked rat soleus 2015
    2015 Instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization: Effects on the properties of human plantar flexors 2015
    2015 Methods comparison: Assessing agreement of physiological parameters obtained from exercise on two different cycle ergometers 2015
    2015 Short-wave diathermy pretreatment and inflammatory myokine response after high-intensity eccentric exercise 2015
    2012 Acute heat stress prior to downhill running may enhance skeletal muscle remodeling 2012

    Research Overview

  • Spinal cord injury leads to drastic loss in muscle mass below the area of spinal injury. How paralysis and unloading alters skeletal muscle and muscle mitochondrial function are not well described. One potential mechanism is the de novo appearance of connexin hemichannels in fast twitch muscle fibers. We use a muscle-specific knockdown of connexin43/45 hemichannels to determine how reductions in these proteins alter mitochondrial morphology, muscle and locomotor function, and changes in the metabolomic profiles. Additional focuses of my studies are the role of fitness and health at the time of a spinal cord injury in predicting recovery outcomes in the acute and subacute timeframes after paralysis.
  • Education And Training

  • National Center for the Medical Consequences of Spinal Cord Injury, Postdoctoral Fellowship 2018
  • Full Name

  • Zachary Graham