College of Veterinary Medicine

Research in IPN

Bert Tanner, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Office: VBR 255
Telephone: (509) 335-7785
Fax: (509) 335-4650


My research focuses on normal, mutated, and diseased proteins that influence muscle contraction and relaxation.  I integrate mathematical modeling, computational simulations, and experimental analyses to investigate complex network behavior among muscle proteins that underlie contractile function at the cellular and tissue level.  By applying these techniques to a variety of muscle preparations I capitalize on functional diversity among species and diseases to better characterize the role of muscle in locomotion and heart disease.


Most recently my research has focused on the structural and functional relationship of thick filament proteins that underlie force and motion generation in cardiac muscle. This work has capitalized on protein mutations that alter muscle organization, leading to dysfunctional contractility and heart disease. Earlier research focused on the molecular determinants of strain-dependent muscle behavior in fruit flies, which represents a critical characteristic of powered flight and may also augment contractile efficiency of the heart on a beat-to-beat basis. My PhD dissertation focused on the molecular mechanisms that regulate skeletal muscle contraction. Many exciting collaborations continue to motivate an ever evolving set of studies using multi-disciplinary research approaches to tackle difficult physiological problems across multiple biological scales.

For additional information about interdisciplinary research topics in my laboratory click on the links below:

Structural and mechanical properties of muscle that coordinate myosin cross-bridge behavior

Mechanical system analysis to measure myosin cross-bridge kinetics in muscle cells

Applied Physiology and Biophysics


Ph.D.    Bioengineering, University of Washington (2007)
B.S.      Physics, University of Utah (2001)


Tanner, B.C.W., McNabb, M., Palmer B.M., Toth, M.J. and Miller M.S. (2014) Random myosin loss along thick-filaments increases myosin attachment time and the proportion of bound myosin heads to mitigate force decline in skeletal muscle. Arch. Biochem. Biophys. Epub ahead of print. doi: 10.1016/

Palmer B.M., Tanner, B.C.W., Toth, M.J. and Miller M.S. (2013) An inverse power-law distribution of molecular bond lifetimes predicts fractional derivative viscoelasticity in biological tissue. Biophys. J. 104:2540-2552. doi:10.1016/j.bpj.2013.04.045.

Wang Y.,
Tanner, B.C.W., Lombardo, A.T., Tremble, S.M., Maughan, D.W., VanBuren, P., LeWinter, M.M., Robbins, J. and Palmer BM.(2013) Cardiac myosin isoforms exhibit differential rates of MgADP release and MgATP binding detected by myocardial viscoelasticity. Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology. 54:1-8. doi: 10.1016/j.yjmcc.2012.10.010.

Tanner, B.C.W., Farman, G.P., Irving, T.C., Maughan, T.C., Palmer, B.M. and Miller, M.S.(2012b) Thick-to-thin filament surface distance modulates cross-bridge kinetics in Drosophila flight muscle. Biophysical Journal. 103(6):1275-1284. doi:10.1016/j.bpj.2012.08.014.

Tanner, B.C.W., Daniel, T.L. and Regnier, M. (2012a) Coupling between neighboring regulatory units coordinates activation of thin filaments and enhances cooperative myosin binding in skeletal muscle. PLoS Computational Biology. 8(5):e1002506, doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1002506.

Tanner, B.C.W.
, Miller, M.S., Miller, B.M., Lekkas, P., Irving, T.C., Maughan, D.W., Vigoreaux, J.O. (2011c) The C-terminus of flightin increases myofilament lattice organization, cross-bridge binding, and power output in drosophila indirect flight muscle. Am. J. Physiol. Cell Physiol. 301(2):C383-391. doi:10.1152/ajpcell.00016.2011.

Goodman, A.G., Tanner, B.C.W., Chang, S.T., Esteban, M., Katze, M.G. (2011b) Virus infection rapidly activates the P58IPK pathway, delaying peak kinase activation to enhance viral replication. Virology. 417(1):37-36. doi:10.1016/j.virol.2011.04.020.

Tanner, B.C.W., Wang, Y., Maughan, D.W., Palmer, B.M. (2011a) Measuring myosin cross-bridge attachment time in activated muscle fibers using stochastic versus sinusoidal length perturbation analysis. J. Appl. Physiol. 110:1101-1108, doi:10.1152/japplphysiol.00800.2010.

Miller, M.S., Tanner, B.C.W., Nyland, L.O., and Vigoreaux, J.O. (2010) Comparative biomechanics of thick filaments and thin filaments with functional consequences for muscle contraction. J. Biomedicine and Biotechnology. 2010(2010):1-14, doi:10.1155/2010/473423.

Tanner, B.C.W., Regnier, M., and Daniel, T.L. (2008) A spatially explicit model of muscle contraction explains a relationship between activation phase, power and ATP utilization in insect flight. J. Experimental Biology. 211(2):180-186, doi:10.1242/jeb.013466.

Tanner, B.C.W., Daniel, T.L., and Regnier, M. (2007) Sarcomere Lattice Geometry Influences Cooperative Myosin Binding in Muscle. PLoS Computational Biology. 3(7): e115, doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.0030115.

Kataoka, A., Tanner, B.C.W., Macpherson, J.M., Xu, X., Wang, Q., Regnier, M., Daniel, T.L. and Chase, P.B. (2007) Spatially explicit, nano-mechanical models of the muscle half-sarcomere: implications for biomechanical tuning in atrophy and fatigue. Acta Astronautica. 60(2): 111-118, doi:10.1016/j.actaastro.2006.07.008.

Norman, J.M., Anderson, M.C., Kustas, W.P., French, A.N., Mecikalski, J., Torn, R., Diak, G.R., Schmugge, T.J. and Tanner, B.C.W. (2003) Remote sensing of surface energy fluxes at the 101-m pixel resolutions. Water Resources Research. 39(8): SWC 9-1, doi:10.1029/2002WR001775.


Last Edited: Feb 12, 2014 10:21 AM   

IPN, PO Box 647620, 205 Veterinary and Biomedical Research, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164-7620, 509-335-6624 Contact UsSafety Links