Professor Clara Franzini-Armstrong ForMemRS
Clara Franzini-Armstrong uses electron microscopy to study skeletal and cardiac muscle on the nanoscopic scale. She is particularly interested in excitation–contraction coupling — the process in muscles by which electrical stimuli are converted into mechanical responses.
One of her earliest research milestones was the discovery of the expected opening of transverse tubules at the surface of muscle cells, which allow muscles to be activated to contract. Clara’s subsequent work has revealed much more about how muscle contraction is brought about by means of calcium cycling between the strands of fibres – called myofilaments – and the surrounding, tube-like sarcoplasmic reticulum within muscle cells.
Clara has received many awards in recognition of her work, including the K. C. Cole and the Founders Awards of the Biophysical Society in 1989 and 2007, respectively. In addition to being a Foreign Member of the Royal Society, she is also a member of the US National Academy of Sciences and the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei in Italy.
Interests and expertise