Research

Muscle Stem Cells & Muscle RegenerationcellsMergingSlider_001

Skeletal muscle is a complex tissue that is composed of a constellation of cell types, consumes significant amounts of metabolic energy, grows and adapts its structure based on its environment and uniquely repairs and regenerates when damaged via a pool of stem cells called satellite cells. The NOBEL uses various types of in-vivo and in-vitro models in combination with genomic assays and high-throughput sequencing to study the molecular mechanisms of muscle regeneration, development and adaptation. We are particularly interested in the role of epigenetic and transcriptional regulation (chromatin, DNAme, RNA, miRNA, lncRNA) of muscle stem cells during responses to trauma, aging and exercise and are beginning to use single-cell profiling, genome editing and cell-based therapeutics to understand these phenomena. 

Current Collaborative Projects Include:

Volumetric Muscle Loss – Dr. Benjamin Corona & Dr. Sarah Greising – U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research – Extremity Trauma & Regenerative Medicine. 001_muscleCompair_C

Satellite Cells & NeuroMuscular Junction Prof. Young C. Jang – Georgia Institute of Technology – Dept. of Biomedical Engineering.

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Myogenic Lineage Progression – Dr. R. Wayne Matheny – U.S. Army Institute of Environmental Medicine – Military Performance Division.

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Satellite Cells & Inflammatory Cell Crosstalk – Prof. Foteini Mourkioti – University of Pennsylvania – Department of Orthopaedic Surgery.

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Satellite Cell Heterogeneity – Prof. Susan V. Brooks – University of Michigan – Dept. of Molecular & Integrative Physiology.

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Bioinformatics Prof. Alan P. Boyle – University of Michigan – Dept. of Computational Biology & Bioinformatics.

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Cellular Reprogramming and Cell-Fate Plasticity

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Induction of the pluripotent state in somatic cells is a powerful tool to 1) derive, study and utilize patient-specific stem cells for regenerative medicine and disease modeling and 2) study the delicate interplay between chromatin state and gene expression networks. The NOBEL uses a combination of micro and nanodevices, reporter cell lines, time-lapse microscopy and integrative genomic assays to understand how the flow of information into and out of the epigenome is dynamically initiated, maintained and augmented during the reprogramming process. We have a particular interest in studying how mechanical perturbations influence chromatin-state transitions during reprogramming and using in-vivo reprogramming technologies for fibrosis reversal.

Current Collaborative Projects Include:

Biophysical Regulation of ReprogrammingProf. Alex Meissner – Harvard SCRB & Broad Institute and Prof. Tim Downing – Univ. of California – Irvine – Dept. of Biomedical Engineering.  

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More coming soon!


Micro/Nanofluidic Devices

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Since the critical sizes of the molecular machines that drive and organize cellular programs are at the scale of micro- and nanofabricated devices (0.3-20,000 nm), these tools offer excellent platforms to study and perturb cellular processes with high precision and throughput. The NOBEL develops tools to illuminate how cells measure and adapt to complex alterations in their constantly changing local mechanical micro-environment and is specifically focusing on studying different types of temporal processes such as mechanical changes and cellular communication networks.

More coming soon!