Profile and Department: Professor and McLaughlin Research Chair, York University
Our research interest concerns the basic regulatory mechanisms involved in cellular differentiation. This work is primarily undertaken using cardiac and skeletal muscle cells as model systems and is aimed at understanding the role of transcription factors in orchestrating tissue-specific gene expression and differentiation. It is well known that various intracellular signalling pathways potently regulate cell differentiation by targeting nuclear transcription factors. Moreover, muscle differentation is extremely sensitive to the action of various growth factors. Therefore, our aim is to delineate the growth factor-activated signalling pathways that specifically converge on and modulate key transcriptional regulators such as MEF2 and AP-1 proteins during myogenesis. We are currently dissecting the role of phosphorylation dependent protein:protein interactions in order to fully understand how growth factor -activated signalling pathways control gene expression.These interests have recently been applied to the study of dysregulated gene expression in the adult myocardium in heart disease and also the post-natal maintenance and regeneration of skeletal muscle.