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Thomas C. Irving

Thomas C. Irving, Ph.D.

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






182B Life Sciences Building


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

Research & Accomplishments 

My research interests focus on the use of biophysical techniques to study the molecular basis for muscle physiology. My major research tool is small-angle X-ray diffraction which I use to study the ordered structures in muscle on the nm length scale. a major part of my R&D efforts go towards developing the BioCAT project, an NIH funded X-ray diffraction, scattering and spectroscopy facility at the Advanced Photon Source located at Argonne National labs, for a national and international community of users. This facility is arguably one of the best in the world for muscle studies of non-crystalline biological systems such as muscle and proteins in solution.


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


  • Operate a Biotechnology Research Center at the Advanced Photon Source for non-crystalline diffraction scattering and x-ray spectroscopy of biological molecules, collaboration with NIH/NCRR
  • Deduce the structural and functional l roles of My-BP-C in cardiac muscle contraction, collaboration with University of Wisconsin/NIH
  • Deduce the structural and functional and structural roles of titin in muscle contraction, collaboration with University of Arizona/NIH


  • 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


Irving, T.C. 1998. A bright future for non-crystalline diffraction using synchrotron radiation. Nature Structural Biology, 5:Synchrotron Supplement, August 1998.

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.

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.

Tsuruta H, Irving TC. (2008) Experimental approaches for solution X-ray scattering and fiber diffraction. Curr Opin Struct Biol. 18(5):601-8

Professional Societies 

  • Biophysical Society
  • American Crystallographic Association
  • Sigma Xi