News

Chris Madl speaks at M&I weekly Seminar Series

Postdoctoral Felllow Christopher Madl presents his research talk Dynamic engineered microenvironments to deconvolve outside-in signaling in the muscle stem cell niche as part of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology's weekly seminar series.

Mohsen Afshar awarded SUMS Seed Grant

Postdoctoral fellow Mohsen Afshar was awarded a SUMS Seed Grant for his proposal Quantifying cellular NAD+ metabolome using a liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry approach. NAD+ is known to be a key regulator of metabolism and longevity. Aging is accompanied by changes in NAD+ metabolome. The Blau Lab has recently identified a novel target, 15-PGDH, that acts as a master regulator of muscle rejuvenation in aged mice by restoring mitochondrial activity. This proposal allows development of a novel method to measure key components of NAD+ metabolome in aged mouse muscles post 15-PGDH inhibition.

Congratulations to Christopher Madl on his K99 Award 

His proposal, Elucidating Effects of Fibrosis on Aged Stem Cells with Dynamic Biomaterials,  aims to develop a dynamic material platform that enables user-directed manipulation of stiffness and to apply this system to identify aging-related changes in muscle stem cells that could lead to novel therapies to improve muscle function.

Biophysical matrix cues from the regenerating niche direct muscle stem cell fate in engineered microenvironments published in Biomaterials.

Madl CM, Flaig IA, Holbrook CA, Wang YX, Blau HM.Biomaterials. 2021 Jun 14;275:120973. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2021.120973. Online ahead of print.PMID: 34224984.

Markov et al. published in PNAS

AP-1 is a temporally regulated dual gatekeeper of reprogramming to pluripotency.

Markov GJ, Mai T, Nair S, Shcherbina A, Wang YX, Burns DM, Kundaje A, Blau HM.Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2021 Jun 8;118(23):e2104841118. doi: 10.1073/pnas.2104841118.PMID: 34088849

Sofía Isabel Torres Bigio Joins as a Summer Intern 

Sofia is a rising Senior at MIT majoring in molecular Biology and Computer Science. She arrives as a part of the Stanford Cardiovascular Institute's Summer Research Program. Welcome to the lab Sofia!

Increased tissue stiffness triggers contractile dysfunction and telomere shortening in dystrophic cardiomyocytes published in Stem Cell Reports

Alex C Y Chang, Gaspard Pardon, Andrew C H Chang, Haodi Wu, Sang-Ging Ong, Asuka Eguchi, Sara Ancel, Colin Holbrook, John Ramunas, Alexandre J S Ribeiro, Edward L LaGory, Honghui Wang, Kassie Koleckar, Amato Giaccia, David L Mack, Martin K Childers, Chris Denning, John W Day, Joseph C Wu, Beth L Pruitt, Helen M Blau. Stem Cell Reports. 2021. May 11;S2213-6711(21)00213-7. doi: 10.1016/j.stemcr.2021.04.018. 

Shiqi Su Joins the Blau Lab

University of California Irvine graduate Shiqi Su joined the Blau lab as a technician in May 2021. Previously Shiqi was an undergraduate researcher in the Piomelli Lab

Will Wang speaks in Spatial Multiomics Webinar Series: Enriching Spatial Proteomic Data with Parallel CITE-seq Analysis Elucidates Multiomic Changes with Aging

Integrating complementary data sets provides a powerful tool to study complex biological processes. In this webinar, Dr. Will Wang from Stanford University will discuss the use of CODEX (Co-Detection by Indexing) spatial proteomic data in parallel with CITE-seq (Cellular Indexing of Transcriptomes and Epitopes by Sequencing) data to study tissue regeneration and aging. In this talk, attendees will learn about the use of multiplex imaging to study spatial dynamics of skeletal muscle regeneration and molecular determinants of aging, understand how to design and align CITE-seq experiments to enrich CODEX data, and see how to use single-cell resolution spatial transcriptomes to assess cell-cell signaling.

Blau lab welcomes new postdoctoral fellow Mohsen Afshar

Mohsen Afshar joined the Blau lab in March 2021. Mohsen completed his PhD studies with Blau lab alum Penney Gilbert in her lab at the University of Toronto studying various aspects of skeletal muscle regeneration and related signalling pathways. 

Inhibition of prostaglandin-degrading enzyme 15-PGDH rejuvenates aged muscle mass and strength published in Science

AR Palla, M Ravichandran, YX Wang, L Alexandrova, AV Yang, P Kraft, CA Holbrook, CM Schürch, ATV Ho, HM Blau. Science. 2021 Jan 29;371(6528):eabc8059. doi: 10.1126/science.abc8059. PMID: 33303683 PMCID: PMC7938328. 


Helen Blau and Sarah Heilshorn awarded 2020 Keck Foundation Medical Research Award

Helen Blau and Sarah Heilshorn were jointly awarded a 2020 Keck Foundation Medical Research Award for their proposal Dynamic Biomaterials to Probe the Role of Tissue Stiffening in Proliferation-Independent Telomere Dysfunction. The Blau lab recently identified telomere shortening as a hallmark of DMD cardiomyopathy, as well as of other heritable cardiomyopathies, leading the investigators to postulate that telomere shortening plays a causal role in heart failure in many genetic diseases. However, this hypothesis is controversial, given that telomere shortening has historically been associated with cell division, and cardiomyocytes do not divide. The investigators will determine whether mechanical stress drives telomere shortening and subsequent pathogenic signaling, leading to cardiomyocyte death. They have developed a novel hydrogel platform that can be stiffened and softened on demand to tune mechanical load, which will be used in conjunction with human induced pluripotent stem cell derived cardiomyocytes from DMD patients and live cell imaging to answer the fundamental question: How can telomeres shorten without cell division? 2021 CVI Winter Quarterly, pg 17.


Will Wang awarded K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award

Congratulations to Blau postdoctoral fellow Yu Xin "Will" Wang on being awarded a K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke for his proposal Spatial Regulators of Skeletal Muscle Regeneration and Disease


Blau lab receives grant from the Spinal Muscular Atrophy Foundation and the Stanford Innovative Medicines Accelerator

Gene therapy has shown remarkable promise for the successful treatment of the root cause of spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). However, combined therapeutic approaches that treat all aspects of SMA, including regenerating muscle, are still urgently needed. In this project, jointly funded by the SMA Foundation and the Stanford IMA, the Blau lab will test their hypothesis that 15-PGDH inhibition will synergize with an available therapy that restores SMN expression to increase neuromuscular junctions and improve muscle function.

Congratulations to Meenakshi Ravichandran on her SNSF Fellowship

Postdoctoral Fellow Meenakshi Ravichandran was awarded a Postdoc.Mobility Fellowship from the Swiss National Science Foudnation. Her research project proposes to test if boosting PGE2 levels can stimulate muscle growth in the diaphragm.