Dean J. Burkin
Academic Unit: School of Medicine
Title: Associate Professor and Director of the Nevada Transgenic Center
Professional degrees: Ph.D., University of Colorado (1994)
Research Area: Muscular Dystrophy, Transgenic Mice, Drug Discovery, Pharmacology, Cell Biology, Developmental Biology
Mail Stop: 318
Phone: (775) 784-6288
Fax: (775) 784-1620
My research program focuses on the development of therapies for children with Muscular Dystrophy (DMD). DMD patients have mutations in the dystrophin gene resulting in a loss of dystrophin. DMD is a devastating neuromuscular disease that affects nearly 50,000 children in the United States alone. All of these children will die from this disease unless therapies are discovered soon. The alpha7beta1 integrin is a major genetic modifier of disease progression in both dystrophic mice and patients. We have demonstrated using state-of-the-art transgenic mouse technology that increased expression of alpha7 integrin can increase the longevity and alleviate muscle disease in severely dystrophic mice models. To translate this exciting discovery into a therapy for DMD, we have recently used drug discovery technology and identified pharmacological compounds that increase alpha7 integrin gene expression. These compounds might be of substantial therapeutic value to children that suffer from DMD. Several other myopathies including Congenital Muscular Dystrophy Type 1A and Fukuyama muscular dystrophy as well as muscle injury and muscle wasting associated with aging and cancer may also benefit from our research.
Laminin-111 protein prevents muscle disease in the mdx mouse model of DMD. Evans blue dye (EBD) uptake reveals mdx muscle injected with laminin-111 exhibits reduced EBD uptake compared to control. Histological staining reveals that mdx muscle treated with laminin-111 contains few muscle fibers with centrally located nuclei and mononuclear cell infiltrate compared to control. Scale bar= 10 microns.
Current Graduate Students:
Other Lab Members
Dr. Ryan Wuebbles (Postdoctoral Fellow)
Dr. Jachinta Rooney (Postdoctoral Fellow)
Rebecca Evans (Research Associate)
Leah Eikelberger (Research Associate)
Maggie Elorza (Research Associate)
Jolie Knapp (Undergraduate Research Assistant)
Erika Allred (Undergraduate Research Assistant)
Welser JV, Rooney JE, Cohen NC, Gurpur PB, Singer CA, Evans R, Haines BA, and Burkin DJ (2009). Myotendinous Junction Defects and Reduced Force Transmission in Mice that Lack alpha7 Integrin and Utrophin. American Journal of Pathology (In Press).
Rooney RE, Gurpur PB and Burkin DJ (2009). Laminin-111 protein therapy prevents muscle disease in the mdx mouse model for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA) 106:7991-7996.
Gurpur P, Liu J, Burkin DJ and Kaufman SJ. Valproic Acid Activates the PI3K/Akt/mTOR Pathway in Muscle and Ameliorates Pathology in a Mouse Model of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (2009). American Journal of Pathology 174:256-264.
Rooney J, Gurpur P, Yablonka-Reuveni Z and Burkin DJ (2009). Laminin-111 restores regenerative capacity in a mouse model for alpha7-integrin congenital myopathy. American Journal of Pathology 174:256-264.
Boppart MD, Volker SE, Alexander N, Burkin DJ, and Kaufman SJ (2008). Exercise Promotes alpha7 Integrin Gene Transcription and Protection of Skeletal Muscle. American Journal of Physiology- Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology 295:R1623-1630.
Faculty by research area
- Mastick, C
- Mastick C.
- Mastick G.
- Van der Linden
- von Bartheld
- von Bartheld