Jim earned a Bachelors of Science in Mathematics in 1981. He continued his studies at the University of Oklahoma where he earned his Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Jim completed a four year postdoctoral fellow at MIT in Cambridge in 1991. He started work at UVM in 1991.
Our lab is interested in the structural and functional properties of muscles that power oscillatory systems, namely the insect flight muscle and the vertebrate cardiac muscle. We use classical and molecular genetic approaches to study the function of various contractile proteins of the indirect flight muscles (IFM) of Drosophila melanogaster. Our goal is to understand how individual proteins contribute to the structural stability and mechanical properties of the muscle fiber, and to the function of the flight system. This research combines biochemical techniques to analyze protein function, cell imaging techniques to analyze muscle ultrastructure, bioengineering techniques to analyze muscle mechanical properties, and entire flight system measurements. The second area of interest is thin filament regulation of cardiac muscle contraction. A major goal of this research is to understand how changes in phosphorylation of troponin I affect the contractile properties of the heart.