Profile: Senior Scientist, SickKids Research Institute
Department: Paediatrics, University of Toronto
Research in Dr. Cohn’s laboratory focuses on the biology of muscle regeneration as it relates to various inherited and acquired myopathic states with a particular interest in muscular dystrophies. More recently, he used a novel approach to understand the mechanisms of maintaining muscle mass and regeneration, by studying hibernating ground squirrels. Hibernating mammals have evolved mechanisms to survive prolonged immobility without pathologic loss/atrophy of muscle mass. The molecular mechanisms underlying this fascinating phenomenon are largely unknown.
His laboratory is currently for the first time applying knowledge of normal mechanisms of muscle protection in the hibernating mammal to the disease process of disuse muscle atrophy in non-hibernating mammals. This will provide unique insights into the fundamental cellular and molecular pathways underlying skeletal muscle atrophy and the protection against it.
Dr. Cohn plans to continue his research activities and ensure that novel genetic technologies will be translated into clinical medicine with the goal of one day making individualized treatment a standard of care for all children.