The long-term goals of the Nano-Omic-Bio-Engineering-Lab (NOBEL) are to understand and engineer muscle function. Muscle is the primary organ system that defines our complex movements and to a degree our life and joy (“joy’s soul lies in the doing” – W. Shakespeare). Of the 3 muscle types (skeletal, cardiac, smooth), we mostly focus on skeletal muscle, which is composed of a constellation of cell types, consumes significant amounts of metabolic energy, grows and adapts its structure and function based on its environment and uniquely repairs and regenerates when damaged. Generating fundamental insights into the basic processes of muscle (development, proliferation and differentiation, migration and fusion, responses to stimuli) could be exploited to prevent dysfunction (muscular dystrophy, aging, and disabilities resulting from severe trauma) as well as enhance rehabilitation and exercise performance (warfighters, athletes). The main research thrusts of the laboratory are in 1) muscle stem cell biology and muscle regeneration (myogenic lineage progression, cellular communication networks, adaptation to stimuli), 2) cellular reprogramming and cell-fate plasticity (transcriptional and epigenetic factors, microenvironment interactions, chromatin memory), 3) regenerative medicine (rehabilitation, cell-based therapies and artificial scaffolds) and 4) micro/nanodevices for interacting with and manipulating single cells and molecules. To study these areas, we interact with clinicians and translational scientists to develop and utilize tools such as integrative genomic assays and high-throughput sequencing, micro/nanofabricated devices, genome editing and computational modeling.
Research Areas: Bio-MEMS and Microfluidics, Bio-Micro Nanotechnology and Molecular Engineering, Bio-Nanotechnology, Biomechanics, Biomedical Computation and Modeling, Drug Delivery and Therapeutics, Ergonomics and Rehabilitation, Molecular and Cellular Biomechanics, Tissue Engineering and Biomaterials, Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine