Weikang Ma

  • Research Assistant Professor


Ph.D., Department of Biology, Illinois Institute of Technology, USA (2016)

BSc., Department of Biotechnology, Dalian Medical University, China (2011)

Research Interests

I have spent a large part of my professional career studying the structural and functional properties of striated muscle using synchrotron X-ray diffraction at the Biophysics Collaborative Access Team (BioCAT). Synchrotron small-angle X-ray diffraction is the only technique for studying the nm-scale structure of actively contracting muscle preparations under physiological conditions. My current work at BioCAT involves independent muscular structural and physiological studies as well as collaborating with many groups from all over the world in the planning, execution, and subsequent data analysis of their combined muscle physiology/ X-ray diffraction experiments. BioCAT is a hub that attracts researchers with very different backgrounds and unique approaches to their specific scientific projects. My collaborative work ranges from structural and functional studies on invertebrate skeletal muscle (insects and tarantula) to transgenic animal models (mouse, rat, and porcine) for human diseases and to human biopsies sample from patients and healthy donors.


First or co-first authored papers:

Gollapudi, S. K., W. Ma, S. Chakravarthy, A. C. Combs, N. Sa, S. Langer, T. C. Irving, and S. Nag. (2021). Two classes of myosin inhibitors, blebbistatin, and mavacamten, stabilize beta-cardiac myosin in different structural and functional states. Journal of Molecular Biology:167295

Ma, W., Henze, M., Anderson, R. L., Gong, H., Wong, F. L., Del Rio, C. L., & Irving, T. (2021). The Super-Relaxed State and Length Dependent Activation in Porcine Myocardium. Circ Res, 129(6), 617-630. doi:10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.120.318647

Ma, W., Duno-Miranda, S., Irving, T., Craig, R., & Padron, R. (2021). Relaxed tarantula skeletal muscle has two ATP energy-saving mechanisms. J Gen Physiol doi:https://10.1085/jgp.202012780

Ma, W., Childers, M. C., Murray, J., Moussaviā€Harami, F., Gong, H., Weiss, R., . . . Regnier, M. (2020). Myosin dynamics during relaxation in mouse soleus muscle and modulation by 2'-deoxy-ATP. J Physiol. doi:https://doi.org/10.1113/JP280402

Padron, R., Ma, W., Duno-Miranda, S., Koubassova, N., Lee, K. H., Pinto, A., . . . Craig, R. (2020). The myosin interacting-heads motif present in live tarantula muscle explains tetanic and posttetanic phosphorylation mechanisms. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. doi:10.1073/pnas.1921312117

Gong, H., Ma, W., Chen, S., Wang, G., Khairallah, R., & Irving, T. (2020). Localization of the Elastic Proteins in the Flight Muscle of Manduca sexta. Int J Mol Sci, 21(15). doi:10.3390/ijms21155504

Ma, W., Lee, K. H., Yang, S., Irving, T. C. & Craig, R. Lattice arrangement of myosin filaments correlates with fiber type in rat skeletal muscle. J Gen Physiol 151, 1404-1412, doi:10.1085/jgp.201912460 (2019).

Ma, W., & Irving, T. C. (2019). X-ray Diffraction of Intact Murine Skeletal Muscle as a Tool for Studying the Structural Basis of Muscle Disease. J Vis Exp(149). doi:10.3791/59559

Ma, W., Gong, H., & Irving, T. (2018). Myosin Head Configurations in Resting and Contracting Murine Skeletal Muscle. Int J Mol Sci, 19(9). doi:10.3390/ijms19092643

Ma, W., Gong, H., Kiss, B., Lee, E. J., Granzier, H., & Irving, T. (2018). Thick-Filament Extensibility in Intact Skeletal Muscle. Biophys J, 115(8), 1580-1588. doi:10.1016/j.bpj.2018.08.038

Yuan, C. C., Ma, W., Schemmel, P., Cheng, Y. S., Liu, J., Tsaprailis, G., . . . Irving, T. C. (2015). Elastic proteins in the flight muscle of Manduca sexta. Arch Biochem Biophys, 568, 16-27. doi:10.1016/j.abb.2014.12.033

A complete list of published work can be found at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/?term=Weikang+Ma

Professional Activities

Biophysical Society

American Heart Association


Beamline Scientist, Fiber Diffraction, Biophysics Collaborative Access Team (BIOCAT)


Muscle X-ray diffraction, Small Angle X-ray Scattering (SAXS), Muscle Structure, Function and Regulation

Weikang Ma

Contact Information

630.252.0508 630.252.0545 B001 Bldg 435B, Argonne National Laboratory