Dean Burkin Lab

Department of Pharmacology


Welcome to the Burkin Lab 

The primary goal of our research is to understand the role the α7β1 integrin and laminin play in muscle development and disease.

My laboratory focuses on two genetic diseases:

    • Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD
    • Laminin-α2 related congenital muscular dystrophy (LAMA2-CMD)

Using transgenic and knockout mice we have shown that the a7β1 integrin is a major modifier of disease progression in several muscular dystrophies including Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) and Merosin-Deficient Congenital Muscular Dystrophy type 1A (MDC1A). These studies support the idea that the α7β1 integrin is a drug target for the treatment of these and potentially other fatal muscle diseases. Using a novel muscle-based assay and high throughput drug discovery, we have recently identified that laminin-111 protein can increase α7 integrin protein in mouse and human muscle cells. We have demonstrated laminin-111 protein therapy can improve muscle repair after damage and prevent muscle disease progression in mouse models of DMD and MDC1A. In addition, we have identified several integrin-enhancing small molecules that may be useful in the treatment of muscle disease and serve as molecular probes to identify and dissect signaling pathways regulated by the α7β1 integrin in normal and diseased muscle.