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Welcome to the Emerson Lab

Our Lab

Skeletal muscle development, regeneration and disease

Skeletal muscle is the most abundant tissue in the human body, responsible for all voluntary motor activity to enable our amazingly complex behaviors and adaptive functions- every smile and every breath. The Emerson Lab utilizes genome, molecular and stem cell technologies to understand how muscles develop in embryos and how injured muscles repair and to develop therapeutics to treat muscular dystrophies. We are highly collaborative with academic and industry scientists, clinicians and patient advocates though the UMass Chan Wellstone Muscular Dystrophy Cooperative Research Center. Read more

Research Focus

Developing therapeutics for muscle diseases

Recent advances in gene and RNA therapeutics and in stem cell biology have paved the way for treatment of muscular dystrophies, which include at least 44 distinct genetic diseases for which there are currently no therapies. Our lab focuses on therapeutics for two dystrophies,  facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD), which is an epigenetic disease, and limb girdle muscular dystrophy 2i (LGMD2i), which is a classic mutant protein disease.  We have developed human adult stem cell and recently iPSC models to enable investigations of FSHD and LGMD21 disease mechanisms, identification and validation of disease biomarkers, and development of RNA, CRISPR-Cas9 gene engineering and drug therapeutics targeted to disease genes. Read more

Highlighted Work

iPSC models for muscular dystrophies

Our lab in collaboration with Genea Biocells has developed and validated a gene-free method for step-wise induction of human iPSCs into skeletal muscle. This innovative iPSC myogenesis technology uniquely enables investigations of genetic and epigenetic regulatory mechanisms controlling human skeletal muscle development and their roles in FSHD and LGMD2i muscle pathology. Read more



Partner with Us

Partnership opportunities

Our lab is always interested in possible partnerships with both indivituals and organizations. Some possible partnerships include knowledge exchange, consulting, collaborations with academia and/or industry, reagent exchange, sponsored research, and spinout activities. 



We believe that great scientific discoveries happen when people collaborate.

Let's have the next big breakthrough together!

Partner with Us

A  postdoctoral position is available for basic and  translational research training in stem cell biology and  skeletal muscle disease, utilizing iPSC models to investigate human skeletal myogenesis and the cell and molecular pathology  of facioscapulohumeral (FSHD) and limb girdle (LGMD2i) muscular dystrophies, and  to develop stem cell, gene engineering and small molecule therapeutics.

Successful candidates are expected to have obtained a Ph. D. and/or M.D. Degree within the past three years and have research training and expertise in cell and molecular biology, genome technologies, and bioinformatics. Fellows will have an opportunity to participate in multidisciplinary collaborations with basic clinical and industry scientists and fellows as part of the UMass Chan Wellstone Center and Muscle Disease Program.

To apply:
Please forward cover letter of interest, CV and list of three references with their contact information to: