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 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. This position has allowed me to establish strong collaborative research programs as well as my own independent research projects. A strong focus of my own independent research projects has been on the structural (X-ray diffraction) and biochemical (ATP turnover rate) aspects of thick filament regulation in healthy and dysregulation in diseased porcine heart tissue. I collaborate with many groups 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. See details at the MusxleX lab webpage (www.musclexlab.com).

Professional Affiliations & Memberships

  • Biophysical Society
  • American Heart Association
  • Sigma Xi
  • American Crystallographic Association


In the Last Two Years

1). Ma, W., Del Rio, C. L., Qi, L., Prodanovic, M., Mijailovich, S., Zambataro, C., Gong, H., Shimkunas, R., Gollapudi, S., Nag, S., & Irving, T. C. (2024). Myosin in autoinhibited off state(s), stabilized by mavacamten, can be recruited in response to inotropic interventions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 121(8), e2314914121.

2). Jani, V. P., Song, T., Gao, C., Gong, H., Sadayappan, S., Kass, D. A., Irving, T. C., & Ma, W. (2024). The structural OFF and ON states of myosin can be decoupled from the biochemical super- and disordered-relaxed states. PNAS nexus, 3(2), pgae039.

3). Rodriguez Garcia, M., Schmeckpeper, J., Landim-Vieira, M., Coscarella, I. L., Fang, X., Ma, W., Spran, P. A., Yuan, S., Qi, L., Kahmini, A. R., Shoemaker, M. B., Atkinson, J. B., Kekenes-Huskey, P. M., Irving, T. C., Chase, P. B., Knollmann, B. C., & Pinto, J. R. (2023). Disruption of Z-Disc Function Promotes Mechanical Dysfunction in Human Myocardium: Evidence for a Dual Myofilament Modulatory Role by Alpha-Actinin 2. International journal of molecular sciences, 24(19), 14572.

4). Ma, W., Lee, K. H., Delligatti, C. E., Davis, M. T., Zheng, Y., Gong, H., Kirk, J. A., Craig, R., & Irving, T. (2023). The structural and functional integrities of porcine myocardium are mostly preserved by cryopreservation. The Journal of general physiology, 155(9), e202313345.

5). Kooiker, K. B., Mohran, S., Turner, K. L., Ma, W., Martinson, A., Flint, G., Qi, L., Gao, C., Zheng, Y., McMillen, T. S., Mandrycky, C., Mahoney-Schaefer, M., Freeman, J. C., Costales Arenas, E. G., Tu, A. Y., Irving, T. C., Geeves, M. A., Tanner, B. C. W., Regnier, M., Davis, J., … Moussavi-Harami, F. (2023). Danicamtiv Increases Myosin Recruitment and Alters Cross-Bridge Cycling in Cardiac Muscle. Circulation research, 133(5), 430–443.

6). Jani, V., Aslam, M. I., Fenwick, A. J., Ma, W., Gong, H., Milburn, G., Nissen, D., Cubero Salazar, I. M., Hanselman, O., Mukherjee, M., Halushka, M. K., Margulies, K. B., Campbell, K. S., Irving, T. C., Kass, D. A., & Hsu, S. (2023). Right Ventricular Sarcomere Contractile Depression and the Role of Thick Filament Activation in Human Heart Failure With Pulmonary Hypertension. Circulation, 147(25), 1919–1932.

7). Landim-Vieira, M., Ma, W., Song, T., Rastegarpouyani, H., Gong, H., Coscarella, I. L., Bogaards, S. J. P., Conijn, S. P., Ottenheijm, C. A. C., Hwang, H. S., Papadaki, M., Knollmann, B. C., Sadayappan, S., Irving, T. C., Galkin, V. E., Chase, P. B., & Pinto, J. R. (2023). Cardiac troponin T N-domain variant destabilizes the actin interface resulting in disturbed myofilament function. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 120(23), e2221244120.

8). Ma, W., McMillen, T. S., Childers, M. C., Gong, H., Regnier, M., & Irving, T. (2023). Structural OFF/ON transitions of myosin in relaxed porcine myocardium predict calcium-activated force. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 120(5), e2207615120.

9). Ma, W., Nag, S., Gong, H., Qi, L., & Irving, T. C. (2022). Cardiac myosin filaments are directly regulated by calcium. The Journal of general physiology, 154(12), e202213213.

10). Awinda, P. O., Ma, W., Turner, K. L., Zhao, J., Gong, H., Thompson, M. S., Campbell, K. S., Irving, T. C., & Tanner, B. C. W. (2022). MgADP Promotes Myosin Head Movement toward Actin at Low [Ca2+] to Increase Force Production and Ca2+-Sensitivity of Contraction in Permeabilized Porcine Myocardial Strips. International journal of molecular sciences, 23(23), 15084.

11). Hessel, A. L., Ma, W., Mazara, N., Rice, P. E., Nissen, D., Gong, H., Kuehn, M., Irving, T., & Linke, W. A. (2022). Titin force in muscle cells alters lattice order, thick and thin filament protein formation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 119(48), e2209441119.

12). Gong, H. M., Ma, W., Regnier, M., & Irving, T. C. (2022). Thick filament activation is different in fast- and slow-twitch skeletal muscle. The Journal of physiology, 600(24), 5247–5266.

13). Jani, V., Qian, W., Yuan, S., Irving, T., & Ma, W. (2022). EMD-57033 Augments the Contractility in Porcine Myocardium by Promoting the Activation of Myosin in Thick Filaments. International journal of molecular sciences, 23(23), 14517. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms232314517

14). Dao, T. P., Yang, Y., Presti, M. F., Cosgrove, M. S., Hopkins, J. B., Ma, W., Loh, S. N., & Castañeda, C. A. (2022). Mechanistic insights into enhancement or inhibition of phase separation by different polyubiquitin chains. EMBO reports, 23(8), e55056.

15). Ma, W., & Irving, T. C. (2022). Small Angle X-ray Diffraction as a Tool for Structural Characterization of Muscle Disease. International journal of molecular sciences, 23(6), 3052.

16). Ma, W., Gong, H., Jani, V., Lee, K. H., Landim-Vieira, M., Papadaki, M., Pinto, J. R., Aslam, M. I., Cammarato, A., & Irving, T. (2022). Myofibril orientation as a metric for characterizing heart disease. Biophysical journal, 121(4), 565–574.

17). Yuan, C. C., Kazmierczak, K., Liang, J., Ma, W., Irving, T. C., & Szczesna-Cordary, D. (2022). Molecular basis of force-pCa relation in MYL2 cardiomyopathy mice: Role of the super-relaxed state of myosin. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 119(8), e2110328119.

18). Stachowski-Doll, M. J., Papadaki, M., Martin, T. G., Ma, W., Gong, H. M., Shao, S., Shen, S., Muntu, N. A., Kumar, M., Perez, E., Martin, J. L., Moravec, C. S., Sadayappan, S., Campbell, S. G., Irving, T., & Kirk, J. A. (2022). GSK-3β Localizes to the Cardiac Z-Disc to Maintain Length Dependent Activation. Circulation research, 130(6), 871–886

19). Reis, M., Alania, Y., Leme-Kraus, A., Free, R., Joester, D., Ma, W., Irving, T., & Bedran-Russo, A. K. (2022). The stoic tooth root: how the mineral and extracellular matrix counterbalance to keep aged dentin stable. Acta biomaterialia, 138, 351–360.

A Complete List of Published Works


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, Cardiomyopathies

Weikang Ma

Contact Information

630.252.0508 630.252.0545 Argonne National Laboratory, B001 Bldg 435B, 9700 S Cass Ave, Lemont 60439