Current Research and Scholarly Interests
Dr. Blau studies cellular reprogramming, therapeutic interventions to enhance stem cell function in muscle regeneration, and cell rejuvenation strategies. By perturbing the intracellular or extracellular milieu, we are probing the regulatory network and molecular grammars that determines cell fate and how it can be altered. This knowledge is key to our understanding of nuclear reprogramming and how to enlist cells for therapeutic purposes. We also focus on dedicated stem cells that exist in our muscle tissues to learn what goes awry as we age or suffer from genetic muscle wasting disorders. For example, we have discovered novel small molecules and niche proteins that rejuvenate, expand, and enhance the function of muscle stem cells, which is crucial for muscle regeneration. We have also determined a new role for telomeres in Duchenne muscular dystrophy, which provides novel insights into the development of the disease and treatments for it, and developed a method of rapidly extending telomeres. To accomplish these goals we integrate diverse powerful technologies for studying cells at the protein, genome, and epigenetic levels, as well as advanced imaging techniques and algorithms for tracking cell fate in vitro and in vivo.