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Thomas C. Irving

Thomas C. Irving, Ph.D.

Chair, Department of Biology
Director, Biophysics Collaborative Access Team (BioCAT)
Professor of Biology and Physics






182C Life Sciences Building


Ph.D. University of Guelph
M.Sc. University of Guelph
B.Sc. University of Guelph

Research & Accomplishments 

Operate a NIH funded Biotechnology Research Center at the Advanced Photon Source, Argonne National Laboratory for non-crystalline diffraction and scattering from biological molecules and tissues.


  • Biophysics of muscle contraction, non-crystalline x-ray diffraction, synchrotron radiation instrumentation


  • Determine the Structural Basis of the Frank-Starling Law of the Heart, collaboration with Loyolla University Stritch School of Medicine.
  • Deduce the structural and functional l roles of My-BP-C in muscle contraction, collaboration with University of Massachusetts Medical School.
  • Study the deleterious effect of mutations in the myosin light chains in cardiomyopathies, collaboration with University of Miami Medical School.
  • Deduce the structural and functional and structural roles of nebulin in muscle contraction and their role in nemaline myopathy, collaboration with University of Arizona/NIH.
  • Deduce the structural mechanism of delayed stretch activation in striated muscle, collaboration with Duke University Medical School.


  • Ontario Scholar (1974)
  • I.O.D.E. Capt. Frederick Bond Memorial University Entrance Scholarship
  • Ontario Graduate Scholarship (1983-84)(1985-86)
  • Canadian Heart Foundation Post-doctoral Fellowship (1989 - 1991)
  • IITRI fellow (1998- 2000)
  • Sigma Xi / IIT Award for Excellence in University Research (senior division) 2007


  • Yuan CC, Ma W, Schemmel P, Cheng YS, Liu J, Tsaprailis G, Feldman S, Ayme Southgate A, Irving TC. Elastic proteins in the flight muscle of Manduca sexta. Arch Biochem Biophys. 2015 Feb 15;568:16-27. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2015 Jan 17.
  • Kathuria SV, Kayatekin C, Barrea R, Kondrashkina E, Graceffa R, Guo L, Nobrega RP, Chakravarthy S, Matthews CR, Irving TC, Bilsel O. Microsecond barrier-limited chain collapse observed by time-resolved FRET and SAXS. J Mol Biol. 2014 May 1;426(9):1980-94. doi: 10.1016/j.jmb.2014.02.020. Epub 2014 Mar 4. PMID: 24607691
  • George NT, Irving TC, Williams CD, Daniel TL.The cross-bridge spring: can cool muscles store elastic energy? Science. 2013 Jun 7;340(6137):1217-20. doi: 10.1126/science.1229573. Epub 2013 Apr 25. PMID: 2361876. Free PMC Article
  • Muthu P, Wang L, Yuan CC, Kazmierczak K, Huang W, Hernandez OM, Kawai M, Irving TC, Szczesna-Cordary D. Structural and functional aspects of the myosin essential light chain in cardiac muscle contraction. FASEB J. 2011 Dec;25(12):4394-405. doi: 10.1096/fj.11-191973. Epub 2011 Sep 1. 35.
  • Perz-Edwards RJ, Irving TC, Baumann BA, Gore D, Hutchinson DC, Kržič U, Porter RL, Ward AB, Reedy MK. X-ray diffraction evidence for myosin-troponin connections and tropomyosin movement during stretch activation of insect flight muscle. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Jan 4;108(1):120-5. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1014599107. Epub 2010 Dec 9. PMID: 21148419
  • Colson, B.A., Bekyarova, T., Irving, T.C., and Moss, R.L (2008). Radial displacement of myosin cross-bridges in mouse myocardium due to ablation of myosin binding protein-C. J. Mol. Biol. 367, 36-41.
  • Bekyarova T.I., Reedy M.C., Baumann B.A., Tregear R.T., Ward A., Krzic U., Prince K.M., Perz-Edwards R.J., Reconditi M., Gore D., Irving T.C., Reedy M.K. (2008). Reverse actin sliding triggers strong myosin binding that moves tropomyosin. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 105:10372-7.
  • Tsuruta H, Irving TC. (2008) Experimental approaches for solution X-ray scattering and fiber diffraction. Curr Opin Struct Biol. 18(5):601-8
  • Dickinson M, Farman G, Frye M, Bekyarova T, Gore D, Maughan D, Irving T. Molecular dynamics of cyclically contracting insect flight muscle in vivo. Nature. 2005 Jan 20;433(7023):330-4.
  • Irving, T.C. 1998. A bright future for non-crystalline diffraction using synchrotron radiation. Nature Structural Biology, 5:Synchrotron Supplement, August 1998.
  • Michael Dickinson, Gerrie Farman, Mark Frye, Tanya Bekyarova, David Gore, David Maughan and Thomas C. Irving. Molecular Dynamics of Cyclically Contracting Insect Flight Muscle. Nature 433:330-333R.
  • Fischetti, S. Stepanov, G. Rosenbaum, R. Barrea, D. Gore, R. Heurich, E. Kondrashkina, S. Wang, Ke Zhang, T.C. Irving and G.B. Bunker. The BioCAT Undulator Beamline 18ID: A Facility for Biological Non-Crystalline Diffraction and X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy at the Advanced Photon Source. Journal of Synchrotron Radiation,11:399-405.

Editorial Boards 

  • Frontiers in Molecular Biosciences, review editor

Professional Societies 

  • American Crystallographic Association
  • American Physical Society Division of Biological Physics
  • Biophysical Society