Matt Romero, Ph.D.
Previous training: Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama
Cells put forth complex regulatory programs that work to control their identity. These programs are unique to their respective cell types, but how do these programs start and how exactly do cells “know” how/when to become a specific type? My work is focused on how muscle stem cells or “satellite cells” regulate these processes by focusing on transcriptional enhancers, stretches of DNA that aid in the expression of a given gene. These “noncoding” portions of the genome, impart a large regulatory function that can control important developmental processes such as cell specification and terminal differentiation. My research aims to determine the regulatory sequences responsible for controlling satellite cell identity, quiescence, and activation; important processes for myogenesis and regeneration. To accomplish these goals I will be utilizing hPSC derived skeletal muscle progenitor cells as well as satellite cells isolated from in-vivo samples as models for characterizing what regulatory sequences are responsible for these cell-types using both genome editing tools such as CRISPR/Cas9 and functional genomic approaches. We aim to use these data to generate superior muscle cells for disease modelling and to generate muscle stem cells that could be used as treatment for skeletal muscle myopathies.
Awards: 2018-2019 Porter Physiology Development Fellowship awarded by the American Physiological Society, 2019-2020 NIH Postdoctoral Fellow NIAMS