Andrew Mead, Ph.D.

Faculty Scientist

Andrew Mead


Dr. Mead graduated with a B. A. in Liberal Arts from St. John’s College, Santa Fe in 2004.  He received his Ph.D. in Biology from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia in 2012.  He was a Postdoctoral Fellow and then a Research Associate in the Department of Biology at the University of Vermont from 2012-2020.  Dr. Mead joined the faculty of the Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics in 2020.  






Research Description

Muscle powers a diverse range of biological functions in vertebrates, from the rapid vocalizations of songbirds to the slow swimming of carp.  Remarkably, muscle’s basic force-generating structure, the sarcomere, is highly conserved among vertebrate muscles, as are the genes that encode its constituent proteins.  I use the swimming muscles of zebrafish larvae as a model system to ask basic questions about how sarcomeres produce force and motion, and in particular how their mechanical characteristics can be ‘tuned’.  Larval muscles develop and begin to function within a few days of fertilization, meaning that I can generate experimental muscles, with genetic modifications or other interventions, comparatively easily and rapidly.  The orientation of muscle fibers within the larval tail allows me to apply suite of classical muscle mechanics experiments to quantify the effects of these interventions on muscle force, shortening velocity, and power.  My current work focuses on Myosin Binding Protein C (MyBP-C), which is understood to be an important regulator of cardiac and skeletal muscle function.  Single molecule biophysical studies by the Warshaw group and others have begun to uncover the molecular mechanisms by which the various isoforms of MyBP-C may affect muscle mechanics. By expressing these isoforms in zebrafish we can observe how these molecular insights play out in the higher order setting of an intact, living muscle.

Faculty Highlighted Publications

Mead AF, Kennedy GG, Palmer BM, Ebert AM, Warshaw DM. Mechanical Characteristics of Ultrafast Zebrafish Larval Swimming Muscles. Biophys J. 2020;119(4):806-820. doi:10.1016/j.bpj.2020.06.036

Song Y, Morales L, Malik AS, Mead AF, et al. Non-immunogenic utrophin gene therapy for the treatment of muscular dystrophy animal models. Nat Med. 2019;25(10):1505-1511. doi:10.1038/s41591-019-0594-0

Mead AF, Osinalde N, Ørtenblad N, et al. Fundamental constraints in synchronous muscle limit superfast motor control in vertebrates. Elife. 2017;6:e29425. Published 2017 Nov 22. doi:10.7554/eLife.29425

Mead AF, Petrov M, Malik AS, et al. Diaphragm remodeling and compensatory respiratory mechanics in a canine model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy. J Appl Physiol (1985). 2014;116(7):807-815. doi:10.1152/japplphysiol.00833.2013

Elemans CP, Mead AF, Jakobsen L, Ratcliffe JM. Superfast muscles set maximum call rate in echolocating bats. Science. 2011;333(6051):1885-1888. doi:10.1126/science.1207309