The Nowak Lab

 

   The Nowak lab uses myogenesis as a model system to study mechanisms of gene regulation during organismal development.  Myogenesis collectively refers to the formation and development of muscle, such as the body wall muscles in Drosophila melanogaster and the skeletal musculature of vertebrate animals.  During muscle formation, mononucleated myoblasts differentiate by expressing muscle-specific gene products under the control of these transcription factors, and fuse together to form a multinucleated muscle fiber.  The differentiation and fusion process is essential not only for embryonic muscle development but also for the maintenance and regeneration of healthy adult muscle in mammals.  Disruption of muscle homeostasis and regeneration results in progressive muscle wasting and degeneration.  Understanding the differentiation and fusion process of myogenesis is critical for improving efficacy of therapies aimed at mitigating or reversing the devastating effects of muscle wasting, which can occur due to muscle injury, stroke, cancer cachexia, and muscular dystrophy disorders.


We use a combination of Drosophila genetics and mouse tissue culture systems to understand regulation of the different events that occur during muscle formation.

Detail of muscles in Drosophila embryo

Cultured mouse myoblasts, stained for membrane markers and actin cytoskeleton

Scott J. Nowak

Assistant Professor of Biology

Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology

Kennesaw State University

MD1201

370 Paulding Avenue

Kennesaw, GA  30144

470-578-7777 (office)

snowak [at] kennesaw [dot] edu