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Laboratory of Skeletal Muscle and Stem Cell Biology

Joe V. Chakkalakal

Joe Chakkalakal


Ph.D. 2006 University of Ottawa, Canada
Postdoctoral Training 2006-2009 Harvard University,
Molecular and Cellular Biology

Postdoctoral Training 2010-2013 Massachusetts General Hospital,
Center for Regenerative Medicine
Assistant Professor of Orthopaedics
Primary Appointment: Department of Orthopaedics

Center for Musculoskeletal Research
UR Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Institute
The Rochester Aging Research (RoAR) Center

Research Overview

Sarcopenia is the prolonged loss of skeletal muscle mass and function with age. A significant contributor to falls, frailty and loss in functional mobility, disabilities related to sarcopenia are a burgeoning cost to healthcare systems. Hence, the identification of factors that promote skeletal muscle maintenance is of critical importance. The progression of sarcopenia correlates with reductions in the number and function of resident stem cells of skeletal muscle, satellite cells. However, the relevance of this decline toward age-related skeletal muscle dysfunction and the identity of factors that maintain the integrity of the satellite cell pool at homeostasis are ambiguous. To address these queries, my laboratory utilizes targeted mouse genetics and injury models to determine how molecules of interest affect satellite cell fate and skeletal muscle regenerative outcomes. We hope insights gained from these studies can be exploited to promote skeletal muscle growth and maintenance in a variety of contexts including aging.


Satellite cell maintenance and skeletal muscle regeneration

Chakkalakal - Project 1

Age-related alterations in FGF, Notch, Wnt and TGFβ/BMP signaling can profoundly influence skeletal muscle regenerative capacity and satellite cell maintenance. We are currently using mouse genetics to decipher modes of interactions between some of these signaling cascades in the regulation of satellite cell fate at homeostasis and during regeneration.

Neuromuscular maintenance, regeneration, and satellite cell integrity

Chakkalakal - Project 2Aging is associated with significant disruptions in neuromuscular maintenance, and regeneration, which contribute to skeletal muscle loss and dysfunction. My laboratory employs mouse genetics, and models of neuromuscular disruption to examine the interrelationships between age-related satellite cell and neuromuscular decline.


View a full list of publications.

Selected Reviews

Chakkalakal JV and Brack AS (2012) Extrinsic Regulation of Satellite Cell Function and Muscle Regeneration Capacity during Aging. Stem Cell Res Ther. S11:001. doi: 10.4172/2157-7633.S11-001.

Chakkalakal JV, Thompson J, Parks RJ, Jasmin BJ. (2005) Molecular, cellular, and pharmacological therapies for Duchenne/Becker muscular dystrophies. FASEB J. 19(8):880-891.

Chakkalakal JV, Jasmin BJ. (2003) Localizing synaptic mRNAs at the neuromuscular junction: it takes more than transcription. Bioessays. 25(1):25-31.

Graduate Program Affiliation