Ochala Group - Muscle Cell Biophysics

Our group focuses on the understanding of muscle cell function in health, evolution, and disease with a specific focus on the motor protein, myosin and its binding partners. We are part of Xlab.





Cardiac and skeletal muscle diseases do not have any clinically approved treatments. Traditional drug discovery has failed in identifying sustainable solutions. This really questions our current scientific knowledge about the regulation of skeletal and cardiac muscle. Rather than just relying on human or rodent data, we believe that a broader approach is necessary and consists of investigating muscle regulatory mechanisms in the whole animal kingdom. By notably identifying and understanding the physiological and metabolic remodelling that enable vertebrates to adapt to extreme demands and survive, we believe that we would have access to a vast pool of potential targets and may subsequently develop novel treatments.

Hence, the specific goals of our research programme are to:

  • Identify how the diversification of sarcomeric proteins (especially myosin) among vertebrates influences skeletal and cardiac muscle metabolism;
  • Define how myosin adaptations modify the metabolic pathways in the context of extreme conditions;
  • Determine how myosins and neighbouring proteins maladapt and contribute to the pathological development of human muscle and metabolic diseases; and
  • Verify that non-human vertebrate myosins constitute (genetically or pharmacologically) powerful therapeutic targets for muscle and metabolic diseases.



  • Single muscle fibre/myocyte manipulation
  • Cell mechanics
  • Cell fluorescent imaging
  • X-ray diffraction
  • Untargeted/targeted proteomics



Julien Ochala

Group Leader

Julien Ochala
Associate Professor

Phone +45353 35651

ORCID: 0000-0002-6358-2920

Group members

Name Title Phone E-mail
Alexander Kamp Sonne PhD Student   E-mail
Chris Lewis Postdoc   E-mail
Elise Gerlach Melhedegaard PhD Student +4529459686 E-mail
Jenni Marjaana Laitila Postdoc   E-mail
Julien Ochala Associate Professor - Promotion Programme +4535335651 E-mail
Mathilde Stub Olsen Master Student   E-mail
Thomas Nyegaard Beck Laboratory Technician.   E-mail