Muscle stem cells, also called ‘satellite cells’, reside within a specialized home known as the ‘niche’. Our studies indicate that ‘stiffness’, a dynamic biophysical niche feature, modulates muscle stem cell self-renewal. Our research aims to understand how muscle stem cells sense and respond to two- and three-dimensional niche stiffness. Knowledge gained from this work will inform development of novel therapeutic interventions that modulate muscle stem cell fate by targeting the molecular pathways that mediate stiffness sensing.     

Selected Publications:

  1. Li EW, McKee-Muir OC, and Gilbert PM. (2018) Cellular biomechanics in skeletal muscle regeneration. Myogenesis in Development and Disease, Sassoon D (Ed.) Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier, In Press.

  2. Safaee H, Bakooshli MA, Davoudi S, Cheng RY, Martowirogo AJ, Li EW, Simmons CA, and Gilbert PM. (2017) Tethered Jagged-1 synergizes with culture substrate stiffness to modulate Notch-induced myogenic progenitor differentiation. Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering, 10(5): 501-513.

  3. Davoudi S and Gilbert PM. (2017) Optimization of satellite cell culture through biomaterials. Methods in Molecular Biology, E. Perdiguero and D. Cornelison (ed.), New York, NY: Springer, 1556: 329-341.

  4. Gilbert PM* and Weaver VM*. (*Co-corresponding authors; 2016) Cellular adaptation to biomechanical stress across length scales in tissue homeostasis and disease. Seminars in Cell and Developmental Biology, 67: 141-152.

  5. Morrissey-Scoot JD, Cheng R, Davoudi S, and Gilbert PM. (2016) Biomechanical origins of muscle stem cell signal transduction. J. Molecular Biology, 428(7): 1441-54.

  6. Cosgrove BD, Gilbert PM*, Porpiglia E, Mourkioti F, Lee SP, Corbel SY, Llewellyn ME, Delp SP and Blau HM*. (*Co-corresponding authors; 2014) Rejuvenation of the muscle stem cell population restores strength to injured aged muscles. Nature Medicine, 20:255-64.

  7. Mouw JK, Yui Y, Damiano L, O Bainer R, Lakins JN, Acerbi I, Ou G, Wijekoon AC, Levental KR, Gilbert PM, Hwang ES, Chen Y-Y and Weaver VM. (2014) Tissue mechanics modulate microRNA-dependent PTEN expression to regulate malignant progression. Nature Medicine, 20:360-367.

  8. Gilbert PM and Blau HM. (2011) Engineering a stem cell house into a home. Stem cell research and therapy, 2(1): 1-9.

  9. Gilbert PM*, Havenstrite K*, Magnusson KEG, Sacco A, Leonardi N, Nguyen N, Kraft P, Thrun S, Lutolf M and Blau HM. (*Equal Contribution; 2010) Substrate elasticity regulates skeletal muscle stem cell self-renewal in culture. Science, 329(5995): 1078-81.

  10. Lutolf M, Gilbert PM and Blau HM (2009) Designing biomaterials to direct stem cell fate. Nature, 462:  433-441.

  11. Cosgrove BD, Sacco A, Gilbert PM, Blau HM (2009) A home away from home: Challenges and opportunities in engineering in vitro muscle satellite cell niches. Differentiation, 78(203):  185-94.