DEAN J. BURKIN, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Pharmacology
Director, Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology Graduate Program
Ph.D., Colorado, 1994
Location: Center for Molecular Medicine
Room 303C, Mail Stop 573
Tel: (775) 784-6288
Fax: (775) 784-1620
The primary goal of my research is to understand the role integrin receptors and the extracellular matrix play in neuromuscular development and disease. Using transgenic and knockout mice we have shown that the α7β1 integrin is a major modifier of disease progression in several muscular dystrophies including Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) and Merosin-Deficient Congenital Muscular Dystrophy type 1A (MDC1A). These studies support the idea that the α7β1 integrin is a drug target for the treatment of these and potentially other fatal muscle diseases. Using a novel muscle-based assay and high throughput drug discovery, we have recently identified that laminin-111 protein can increase α7 integrin protein in mouse and human muscle cells. We have demonstrated laminin-111 protein therapy can improve muscle repair after damage and prevent muscle disease progression in mouse models of DMD and MDC1A. In addition, we have identified several integrin-enhancing small molecules that may be useful in the treatment of muscle disease and serve as molecular probes to identify and dissect signaling pathways regulated by the α7β1 integrin in normal and diseased muscle.
View the publications of Dr. Burkin on PubMed