Penney M. Gilbert

Gilbert, Penney M.

Penney Gilbert | Associate Professor & Canada Research Chair, Endogenous Repair
BS (Haverford), PhD (Pennsylvania)

Main Appointments

  • Institute of Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering

Additional Appointments

  • Department of Biochemistry
  • Donnelly Centre for Cellular & Biomolecular Research

Contact Information

Office: Donnelly Centre, 160 College Street, Room 506

+1 416 978-2501 (office) (email)
Gilbert Lab (web)

Research Theme

Research Interests

The central goal of research in the Gilbert Lab is to harness the power of creative 2D and 3D biomaterial approaches to overcome challenges impeding the effective treatment of skeletal muscle wasting. Muscle atrophy arises from genetic structural defects in muscle fibers (e.g. muscular dystrophy), aging (sarcopenia), disease (cachexia), and physical inactivity (e.g. bed rest, absence of gravity). 

Currently there are no clinical approaches to undo muscle atrophy in these disease settings. Notably, skeletal muscle has extensive regenerative potential, largely due to resident muscle stem cells, whose prospective isolation from murine tissue was recently established. Due to the nascence of the field, relatively little is known about muscle stem cell regulation despite the clear translational potential of this adult stem cell population.

The Gilbert Lab uses interdisciplinary approaches to provide necessary insight into the biochemical and biophysical regulation of muscle stem cells. This knowledge is then applied to (1) the rational design of biomimetic substrates for muscle stem cell expansion in culture to potentiate cell based therapies, (2) in the development of systemically delivered therapeutics aimed at regulating muscle stem cell fate and promoting regeneration within the context of the native tissue and (3) the engineering of replacement skeletal muscle tissue.

By applying bioengineering principles to muscle stem cell biology the Gilbert Lab aims to advance the stem cell biology, bioengineering and regenerative medicine fields. Ultimately, we hope to provide novel therapies for the treatment of skeletal muscle wasting diseases.

Select Publications

Targeting the stem cell niche with regenerative biomaterials. Nissar AA, Martowirogo A, and Gilbert PM. Current Opinion in Solid State and Materials Science. (2016), Accepted.

Optimization of satellite cell culture through biomaterials. Davoudi S and Gilbert PM. Methods in Molecular Biology. Springer Publishing. (2015), Accepted.

Biomechanical origins of muscle stem cell signal transduction. Morrissey-Scoot JD, Cheng R, Davoudi S, and Gilbert PM. Journal of Molecular Biology. 2015. DOI: 10.1016/j.jmb.2015.05.004.

Muscling in on the third dimension. Bakooshli MA and Gilbert PM. eLIFE. (2015), DOI: 10.7554/eLife.06430.

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

Tissue mechanics modulate microRNA-dependent PTEN expression to regulate malignant progression. 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. Nature Medicine. (2014), 20:360-367.

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

HOXA9 regulates BRCA1 expression to modulate human breast tumor phenotype. Gilbert PM*, Mouw JK*, Unger MA, Lakins JN, Gbegnon MK, Clemmer VB, Benezra M, Licht JD, Boudreau NJ, Tsai K.K.C., Welm AL, Feldman MD, Weber BL, and Weaver VM (*Equal contribution). Journal of Clinical Investigation. (2010), 120(5): 1535-50.

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