Thomas IrvingDepartment of Biological and Chemical Sciences; Department of Physics
Watching fruit flies may not seem like high-tech science, but this work of Professor Thomas Irving could hold the key to understanding the way the human heart muscle performs. Irving has developed a world-class research program investigating the structure and function of complex biological systems, such as muscle and connective tissue, using synchrotron-based small angle X-ray diffraction.
Through his leadership role as director of the Biological Collaborative Access Team, the IIT-led group that operates a beamline at the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory, his research has illustrated the relationship between muscle power output and changes in molecular structure of insects in flight. With similarities between insect muscle and human cardiac muscles, the research could be adaptable for medical uses.