Welcome to SR PuMMP Lab

Welcome to the SR Pumps in Muscle, Metabolism, and Physiology (SR. PuMMP) lab!

This is the official site of Professor Russ Tupling's muscle physiology lab! We study the sarco(endo)plasmic reticulum Ca2+-ATPase or Ca2+ pump (SERCA pump) in the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR), which, together with other important SR proteins, make up the membrane system that regulates calcium inside the muscle cells of our bodies. Through the release and re-uptake of Ca2+ within muscle cells, this membrane system regulates muscle contraction and relaxation, respectively. Without this important Ca2+ regulatory system, there would be no movement and no heartbeat.

Our research focuses on understanding:

1) the overall regulation of SR function in muscle and how defects in the structure/function of SR proteins cause Ca2+ handling abnormalities that contribute to fatigue, weakness and disease.

2) the factors involved in regulating Ca2+ transport efficiency by SERCA pumps and to determine if alterations in Ca2+ transport efficiency can affect metabolic rate and susceptibility to diet-induced obesity and type II diabetes.

Phosopholamban (PLN) and sarcolipin (SLN) are small SR proteins that regulate SERCA pump function through physical interactions. Our current research focuses on the role of PLN and SLN in energy metabolism and skeletal muscle diseases such as centronuclear myopathy (CNM) and muscular dystrophy, and to test potential therapies using genetically modified mice and pharmacological compounds that could be used to treat these muscle diseases, which currently have no known cure.

  1. Dec. 14, 2015Congratulations Graduates!

    It's been a busy fall in the SR PUMMP lab. Three graduate students have finished off their time with us and are defending their thesis.

  2. Sep. 1, 2015Welcome New Masters Students!

    With the fall term starting, our lab is happy to welcome in three new masters students: Catherine Bellissimo, Emma Juracic and Riley Sonnenburg.

  3. Mar. 30, 2015Aftab Hockey Game

    For those who aren't familiar with Aftab, this hockey game is held as an annual memorial fundraiser in memory of Professor Aftab Patla, who was a professor at the University of Waterloo for over 25 years. The game pits undergraduate students against grad students and faculty members.

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Meet our people

Chris Vigna

Chris Vigna


Chris' research interests encompass changes in sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ regulation in response to physiological stress, such as exercise. He completed is Masters degree at the University of Waterloo in 2008.