Andrew Brack, PhD
Our lab interests lie at the interface between adult stem cell biology and tissue regeneration. We focus on the molecular pathways that control cell fate decisions of the adult muscle stem cell (the satellite cell) to effectively regenerate adult skeletal muscle. In uninjured muscle, the rare satellite cells are in a functionally dormant, quiescent state. Upon an injury stimulus, these cells proliferate and their progeny will either differentiate to form new muscle fibers or undergo self renewal to replenish the stem cell pool. We believe that the temporally coordinated cell fate decisions of the stem cell and its progeny are reliant on the communication between the local environment (the muscle stem cell niche) and the stem cell itself. We are using cre/lox gene recombination and genetic knock in technology to deconstruct the communication between the niche and the muscle stem cell to investigate the cell fate decision making process during regeneration. In the future we hope this will lead to strategies that improve stem cell based therapies targeting aging and muscle disease.