Adult stem cells are responsible for the regeneration of many tissues within our body. Two defining characteristics govern adult stem cell behavior. First, they must be capable of differentiation to repair damaged tissue. Second, they must be capable of self-renewal, or make copies of themselves, such that they are maintained throughout the lifetime of the individual.
One of the best studied adult stem cells is the ‘satellite cell’ the skeletal muscle stem cell so named for its satellite position around skeletal muscle myofibres. Normally resting, these rare cells become activated to efficiently repair muscle after injury.
Despite the capacity to regenerate, muscle is subject to many diseases and disorders, which include a large family of muscular dystrophies and muscle wasting associated with cancer and aging.
Our laboratory studies the molecular biology underlying skeletal muscle development and regeneration. Deepening our understanding of how muscle stem cells develop and function will be key to realizing regenerative medicine based approaches to treating muscle disorders.
Our laboratory is at the Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research of the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal, Canada.