Penney Gilbert


Department and Profile: Assistant Professor, Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering, University of Toronto

Lab: Gilbert Lab

Research Interests:

The central goal of research in the Gilbert Lab is to harness the power of creative 2D and 3D biomaterial approaches to overcome challenges impeding the effective treatment of skeletal muscle wasting. Muscle atrophy arises from genetic structural defects in muscle fibers (e.g. muscular dystrophy), aging (sarcopenia), disease (cachexia), and physical inactivity (e.g. bed rest, absence of gravity). Currently there are no clinical approaches to undo muscle atrophy in these disease settings. Notably, skeletal muscle has extensive regenerative potential, largely due to resident muscle stem cells, whose prospective isolation from murine tissue was recently established. We use interdisciplinary approaches to provide necessary insight into the biochemical and biophysical regulation of muscle stem cells. This knowledge is then applied to (1) the rational design of biomimetic substrates for muscle stem cell expansion in culture to potentiate cell based therapies, (2) in the development of systemically delivered therapeutics aimed at regulating muscle stem cell fate and promoting regeneration within the context of the native tissue and (3) the engineering of replacement skeletal muscle tissue. By applying bioengineering principles to muscle stem cell biology we aim to advance the stem cell biology, bioengineering and regenerative medicine fields. Ultimately, we hope to provide novel therapies for the treatment of skeletal muscle wasting diseases

PubMed Research Publications